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Research summaries and systematic reviews
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The Lancet Health in Humanitarian Crises Series was launched on 9 June 2017 and focused on how to improve the effectiveness of health responses in humanitarian crises. The series is available free of charge, simply login to access the full articles.

Large-scale humanitarian crises are ongoing in Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen among others. This Lancet Series of four papers and accompanying Comments assesses the evidence base for health interventions in humanitarian crises and finds significant variations in the quantity and quality of evidence. It brings together lessons learned from recent failures in humanitarian crises to provide recommendations to improve a broken system. It calls for action to put the protection of humanitarian workers front and centre, to align humanitarian interventions with development programmes, to improve leadership and coordination, to ensure timely and robust health information, and to make interventions more efficient, effective, and sustainable.

Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations:

Blanchet et al highlight critical weaknesses in evidence on the effectiveness of humanitarian health responses. While MHPSS had a stronger evidence base than some sectors, there were still major gaps such as on psychosocial interventions, and interventions for alcohol and other substance use disorders. The paper by Checchi et al further discusses the use of key public health information and methods in humanitarian crises, and highlights how appropriate information was available and timely only in a small minority of crises. It goes on to propose an agenda for methodological research and the steps required to improve the current use of available methods, including for MHPSS. (Written by Dr Bayard Roberts. For further information please contact bayard.roberts@lshtm.ac.uk).

Series contents


  • Improving evidence for health in humanitarian crises
  • Where is the science in humanitarian health?
  • Humanitarian medicine is more than a technical exercise
  • Research ethics and evidence for humanitarian health


  • Moses Massaquoi: health leader in humanitarian crises


  • Evidence on public health interventions in humanitarian crises
  • Public health information in crisis-affected populations: a review of methods and their use for advocacy and action
  • Recurrent failings of medical humanitarianism: intractable, ignored, or just exaggerated?
  • The humanitarian system is not just broke, but broken: recommendations for future humanitarian action


  • Attacks against health care in Syria, 2015–16: results from a real-time reporting tool


Human rights
Empowerment and service user involvement
Task sharing
Prevention and promotion
Treatment, care and rehabilitation
All disorders
Humanitarian and conflict health
Middle East
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