Participation by conflict-affected and forcibly displaced communities in humanitarian healthcare responses: A systematic review
Brown, Felicity L
Fuhr, Daniela C
Asmar, Michèle Kosremelli
Yeretzian, Joumana Stephan
MetadataShow full item record
Rass, E., Lokot, M., Brown, F.L., Fuhr, D.C., Asmar, M.K., Smith, J., McKee, M., Orm, I.B., Yeretzian, J.S. and Roberts, B. (2020) ‘Participation by conflict-affected and forcibly displaced communities in humanitarian healthcare responses: A systematic review’, Journal of Migration and Health, 1–2, p. 100026. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmh.2020.100026.
Background Community participation in health responses in humanitarian crises is increasingly promoted by humanitarian actors to support adoption of measures that are relevant and effective to local needs. Our aim was to understand the role of community participation in humanitarian health responses for conflict-affected populations (including forcibly displaced populations) in low- and middle-income countries and the barriers and facilitators to community participation in healthcare responses. Methods Using a systematic review methodology, following the PRISMA protocol, we searched four bibliographic databases for publications reporting peer-reviewed primary research. Studies were selected if they reported how conflict-affected populations were involved in healthcare responses in low- and middle-income settings, and associated changes in healthcare responses or health outcomes. We applied descriptive thematic synthesis and assessed study quality using study design-specific appraisal tools. Results Of 18,247 records identified through the database searching, 18 studies met our inclusion criteria. Various types of community participation were observed, with participation mostly involved in implementing interventions rather than framing problems or designing solutions. Most studies on community participation focused on changes in health services (access, utilisation, quality), community acceptability and awareness, and ownership and sustainability. Key barriers and facilitators to community participation included political will at national and local level, ongoing armed conflict, financial and economic factors, socio-cultural dynamics of communities, design of humanitarian responses, health system factors, and health knowledge and beliefs. Included studies were of mixed quality and the overall strength of evidence was weak. More generally there was limited critical engagement with concepts of participation. Conclusion This review highlights the need for more research on more meaningful community participation in healthcare responses in conflict-affected communities, particularly in framing problems and creating solutions. More robust research is also required linking community participation with longer-term individual and health system outcomes, and that critically engages in constructs of community participation.