Conflict-sensitivity assessment

Last month 35 professionals from 14 organisations working in the fields of healthcare, humanitarian response and peacebuilding attended the presentation of the key findings from our recent research on conflict-sensitivity capacities in the health sector in Lebanon.

On 22 September, members of the consortium implementing the EU-funded project on conflict reduction through improved healthcare services – UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, International Relief and Development (IRD) and the Ministry of Public Health – took part in the discussion alongside international and national health NGOs and organisations working exclusively in the peacebuilding field.

The assessment on capacities for conflict-sensitivity in the health sector was commissioned by Alert and conducted by Integrity Research and Consultancy in June–July. It informed the development of Alert’s plans on strengthening healthcare actors’ capacities for conflict-sensitive programming and service provision.

Howard Murray, the project manager who led Integrity’s research work, presented the key findings and analysis based on data collection in and around eight primary healthcare centres. In response to a question on key recommendations stemming from the assessment, Murray focused on four areas:

  • The need to link interventions in the health sector with assistance in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector due to pervasive perceptions among the Lebanese about refugees’ lack of hygiene and associated self-segregation and withdrawal of Lebanese from primary healthcare centres (PHCs).
  • The need for greater understanding of the impact of PHCs’ coping mechanisms such as segregation of patients and disinfection of furniture and equipment.
  • The opportunity to engage social workers and community/refugee outreach staff and volunteers in awareness-raising sessions with both communities.
  • The opportunity to harness existing reporting mechanisms for reporting on incidents and patient feedback.

Some of the questions were linked specifically to the implementation of the EU's Instrument for Stability consortium project, while others were more general and focused on the quality of medical services, alternative healthcare providers that Lebanese resort to when avoiding refugee-serving PHCs, and broader issues of conflict in communities.

The presentation of the assessment findings follows earlier consultations on the preliminary findings held in July and a number of individual consultations Alert held with healthcare organisations in Lebanon in August and September. The feedback from practitioners was incorporated in the capacity-building plans. Capacity-building activities will target three groups: PHC staff with a focus on nurses and administrators; social workers and community/refugee outreach volunteers; and health coordinators and programme managers of health organisations. Activities will be split between Beirut and the regions, and are planned to start in October.

You can read the findings in full here.