Online Program

Refugees twice over: Determinants of health among Palestinians displaced from Syria in Lebanon

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Sawsan Abdulrahim, PhD, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, Beirut, Lebanon
Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) began trickling into Lebanon shortly after the onset of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, but their numbers dramatically increased in 2013.  During the summer of 2014, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) conducted a Vulnerability Assessment of all registered PRS in Lebanon (12,735 families and 44,227 individuals).  While only 3% of PRS entered Lebanon illegally, more than half did not hold a valid visa at the time of the assessment.  PRS in Lebanon face extremely limited work opportunities due to labor law restrictions, with more than half reporting that none of the adult family members worked during the preceding month; unemployment is higher in female-headed families which constitute one third of the group.  PRS also pay higher expenditures on food and shelter in Lebanon compared to Syria.  This situation has led most families to fall into debt and to become heavily reliant on donor assistance; 80% reported that their main source of income is UNRWA stipends. Only 58% of 6-18 year old PRS children are currently enrolled in school, and 40% of six-year-olds have never been enrolled.  Though girls are not more disadvantaged than boys, school dropout increases precipitously for both genders after age 12.  Almost 20% of PRS families fall in the severely vulnerable category on both the health and the protection dimensions.   Increasing legal restrictions in Lebanon and international donor fatigue means that an even larger proportion of PRS families will migrate from moderate to severe vulnerability status.  

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the findings of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency assessment of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon with a focus on three main determinants of health – legal status, limited work opportunities, and children’s integration in schools.

Keyword(s): Vulnerable Populations, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have expertise in research on the health of Palestinian refugees. My presentation is based on a report on Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon that I wrote for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. I managed the data set UNRWA collected, analyzed the data, and wrote the 80 page report. I have co-authored a publication on the topic of "discrimination and psychological distress" among ARAB Americans, and on "self-rated health" in ARAB countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.