Integrating social stability into health and protection services in Lebanon

Action research summary

This action research explores how community-based healthcare centres can provide health and protection services in a way that promotes social stability in Lebanon.

Eight years into the Syrian crisis, tensions between host communities and Syrian refugees in Lebanon continue to remain high and affect all spheres of daily life.

The deepening economic crisis pushes more Lebanese and Palestinians from Lebanon into poverty and in need of services provided by institutions and organisations serving the most vulnerable. This crisis is also worsening the living conditions of the Syrian refugees.

The primary healthcare sector has adapted to serve hundreds of thousands of refugees while taking measures to ensure access to health for host communities.

This research finds that, given the centrality and importance of healthcare provision to both host communities and refugees, healthcare centres can act at the same time as spaces to exacerbate tension, but also provide opportunities to reduce it and create connectedness between different communities.

The study clearly shows that the integration of social stability and conflict sensitivity into healthcare and protection services contributes to mitigate and decrease tension between different groups at the level of the centres by improving relations between staff and users and between users from different communities.

This alone does not necessarily transform all community centres from ‘healthcare and protection services providers’ to ‘active agents of change’ on a wide scale in the community and the region. Consequently, this model needs to be contextualised.