June 24, 2024
Sheila Leatherman, CBE, Hon FRCP Professor of Global Health, Department of Health and Management, and Gillings Global Advisor

Sheila Leatherman, CBE, Hon FRCP
Professor of Global Health, Department of Health and Management, and Gillings Global Advisor

 

Currently, two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). By 2030, nearly 50% of the global poor will live in such situations. These circumstances call for attention and action worldwide. Earlier this year, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) projected that 274 million people would need humanitarian assistance and protection, an increase from 235 million projected for 2021. Hunger is on the rise, disease outbreaks are increasing, and the impact of the COVID pandemic on essential health services could erase decades of progress in HIV, TB, and malaria, potentially doubling death tolls.

Dilshad Jaff

Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health

 

COVID-19 has triggered the deepest global recession since the 1930s with extreme poverty rising for the first time in 22 years. The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has reported that over 89 million people – or 1 in every 88 on the planet – have been forcibly displaced, the vast majority of whom are residing in the Global South.

Crises related to war, internal conflict, fragile governments unable to provide essential services, climate and water related emergencies are all an ever-present challenge, often addressed by acute crisis responses to immediate humanitarian needs for shelter, protection, medical care, and more. Humanitarian aid has been traditionally defined as “material and logistic assistance to people who need the help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term help by government and other institutions replaces it. Among the people in need are the homeless, refugees, and victims of natural disasters, wars and famine.” [Source]

However, in reality, these complex crises are often protracted and require long term solutions. A pressing question is how do we move to proactive management and mitigation of the impact of crises and more predictably build resiliency in partnership with affected populations? As global health professionals, we seek to contribute to that looming question in the pursuit of advancing health care, health outcomes and well-being for people across the world.

–Sheila Leatherman, CBE, Hon FRCP, Professor of Global Health in Health Policy and Management and Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH, Professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health

We in the Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative, in collaboration with and support of partnering organizations and collaborators, work to address multiple and diverse humanitarian situations in ways that include;

  • Evidence scanning for what works to improve health care and health outcomes in FCV and humanitarian settings
  • Action research for rapid uptake of practices and interventions that can be adopted and adapted in the front lines of providing health care
  • Capacity strengthening for NGOS and governments
  • Strategic advising
  • Monitoring and evaluation

For any general questions about HHI, please contact Amy Kryston at [email protected].

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