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International Policy Fellows to visit Cambridge

31 August 2018

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The Centre for Science and Policy is developing a policy engagement initiative for the Research for Health and Conflict project (R4HC-MENA), developing capability, partnerships and research in the Middle East and North Africa. Eight Policy Fellows will visit Cambridge and London, from Turkey, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, initially during Michaelmas Term 2018, exploring research needed to help tackle health policy questions affected by conflict in the region.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund and is led by King's College London with a key research hub at the University of Cambridge.

Two billion people across the world live in areas of conflict and fragility. This has led to the greatest forced migration crisis since the Second World War. The impact of this migration crisis includes socio-economic, political and environmental change in neighbouring frontline countries. There is now specific concern among international donors and policy makers about how to address the short and long term health and social welfare challenges generated by these crises.

R4HC-MENA is a four-year programme which brings together multiple disciplines, academics and policy makers to develop research training and collaborations between Middle East and UK universities in order to address the major public policy and health challenges arising from ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises. The project will have a specific focus in the areas of the political economy of health and healthcare, mental health, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and auto-immune conditions.

The programme will involve a collaboration of researchers from the University of Cambridge, King’s College London and Imperial College London in the UK and Birzeit University, Hacettepe University (Turkey), King Hussein Cancer Centre (Jordan) and the America University Beirut (Lebanon). These academic institutions will work in partnership with Government, International and NGO partners, such as the World Health Organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Agency for Research in Cancer to deliver the programme.

Work will focus initially on Turkey, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, but with the aim of building wider regional and global partnerships. R4HC-MENA will grow and sustain research capacity that can critically inform aspects of health development. Research capacity building will focus on training staff in theoretical and practical research methods, as well as conducting and publishing research to build further capability and disseminate findings. Proper research capacity ensures that conflict impacted countries can plan for rational and affordable healthcare systems, sound economic policy and effective aid utilisation. By linking together partners across government, academia and NGOs, the programme will translate research into policy and critically inform the development of affordable and equitable models of care in complex non-communicable diseases across the MENA and other regions affected by war.

The eight Policy Fellows who will visit Cambridge during Michaelmas Term 2018 are:

Dr Ibrahim Bou-Orm, Consultant, Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon and PhD student

Dr Hilda Harb, Head of Department of Statistics, Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon

Nour Kik, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon

Dr Samah Jabr, Head of Mental Health, Ministry of Health, Palestinian National Authority

Dr Asem Mansour, Director, King Hussein Cancer Centre Jordan

Rana Nashashibi, Director, Palestine Counselling Centre

Dr Meltem ┼×engelen, Lecturer, Department of Public Health, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Dr Mohammed Rasoul Tarawneh, Secretary General, High Health Council, Jordan