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Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH) project

HCRI researchers commence new DFID-funded project to measure the impact of attacks on healthcare in conflict settings.

'Armed conflict' warning sign in foreground, and people going about daily business in the background.

A consortium of researchers, led by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at The University of Manchester in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, have been awarded £2.5M by the Department for International Development for a new research programme: Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH).

The aim of the research is to improve the understanding of the nature, frequency, scale, and impact of attacks on healthcare in conflict through improved data collection and analysis.

Multiple international studies confirm a global consensus that attacks on health often threaten the sanctity of health care, disrespect the right to health care, and violate international humanitarian law.

Gathering evidence of attacks has to date been crucial in raising awareness of the issue. But existing evidence is largely restricted to the reporting of incidents and their immediate impact, and falls short of providing data on the longer-term and wider impacts of attacks on healthcare access and utilisation as well as broader public health outcomes. In addition, comparing multiple data sources about attacks reveals that there is minimal overlap and inconsistent terminology and criteria, which limit the ability to compare datasets.

This research will transcend previous work on attacks against healthcare through rigorous new and sustained data collection over the lifetime of the project. It aims to produce data that generate stronger evidence of the scale and nature of the problem and document the impacts of the attacks to support global policy and advocacy efforts.

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This project is funded by the Department for International Development.

The Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH) Consortium consists of academics from HCRI, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Health in Humanitarian Crisis Centre), the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the University of California, Berkeley. The consortium benefits from the membership of multiple practitioner partners that will provide technical advice and support to ensure that the outputs respond to field realities. These include the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Insecurity Insight are working with us on the data collecting and processing work, and Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, will work with us on policy and impact activities.

To be added to the mailing list for regular updates please email RIAH@manchester.ac.uk.

Project team/contact

For general queries contact RIAH@manchester.ac.uk.