Political Economy of Health in Conflict

The aim of this work stream is to provide systematic and empirically grounded research capacity in the political economy of health in conflict in MENA countries, particularly around methods to examine the historical development and policies of their health systems, and the current role of government, the private sector, international donors and humanitarian agencies.

The Syrian conflict and humanitarian crisis has affected almost all countries of the MENA region but has had particularly profound effects on immediate neighbours. This new context of crisis requires deepened knowledge about the political economy in the region, guiding the formation of new health policies particularly in NCDs such as cancer and mental health. A recent analysis of health in the MENA region highlights the key problems of ignoring political economy approaches in understanding health concerns. In addition to the increasing NCD burden, the region has long suffered from a sustained under-investment in both public health systems and health research. Powerful actors with vested interests—governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector — shape national health agendas, including the formation of social protection systems. However, the research capacity to conduct programs that can inform evidence-based policies is severely lacking. There is an urgent need to design and build multi-sectoral responses based on evidence generated within the MENA region. The project will incorporate multidisciplinary research capacity approaches across policy sectors, such as ministries of development, labour, social affairs and public health.

Political Economy of Health in Gaza
Political Economy of Health in Turkey


Across all four work streams, four common deliverables are embedded:

  • Curricula and courses will be co-developed and co-delivered in local contexts

  • Training will be focused on faculty leaders and will use a variety of pedagogical approaches (from certificate level modules to full Masters degrees tailor made for the MENA region)

  • Both UK and MENA partners will be strongly encouraged to co-publish in high impact journals to build academic depth and ensure the translation of research to policy

  • A focus on innovative learning technologies and informatics – such as blended learning, online and virtual learning