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Work in focus

The following parameters define the work of the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict.

Many issues of the Syria conflict have both local and global dimensions.  An example is attacks on health facilities, experienced locally while representing failure of the UN Security Council.  In others, such as management of trans-border refugee flow between Turkey and Europe, regional and transcontinental dimensions are intricately linked.  The Commission will therefore examine factors at various levels: local (e.g. health services delivery), country (e.g. using the whole-of-Syria approach), regional (e.g. cross-country analysis of health system response to refugees and host communities), transcontinental (e.g. refugee movement) and global (e.g. humanitarian aid regime and response to international law violations).  

Through a scoping literature review, discussions and stakeholder consultations in preparation for launching the Commission, and during the first (inaugural) meeting of the Commission, a large number of issues were identified as of interest to the work of the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict. The research work of the Commission has been divided under six thematic areas (see Thematic Groups).

  • Thematic area A: ​Health and the Syrian conflict in regional and global context (framing)
  • Thematic area B: Health inside Syria
  • Thematic area C: Refugees and host communities
  • Thematic area D: Health systems and transition to "rebuilding"
  • Thematic area E: International response to the crisis
  • Thematic area F: The future, policy and practice implications

The themes are understand​​ably overlapping and lend themselves to reformulation too. The Commission recognizes such possibilities but ultimately sees that fresh thinking and novel research will prove more important than categories.

The following principles guide the work of the Commission: (1) Evidence-based; (2) consensus building; (3) public engagement; (4) working in partnership; (5) multi​disciplinarity, and (6) emphasis on policy and practice.  

The approach relies on the following: (1)  mapping issues and selecting priorities; (2) evidence gathering, including primary research as needed, and analysis; (3) synthesis of findings; (4) peer review and public consultation; and (5) knowledge translation and dissemination.  

 The Commission’s timeline can be seen in four phases:

      • Phase I (March – December 2016): This was the foundational stage of the Commission and included developing the concept for the Commission, establishing the Commission, and preparing for launching the Commission on 1-2 December 2016 at AUB 
      • Phase II (December 2016 – March 2017): Following the formal launch of the Commission, work started in earnest to refine the scope of inquiry, establish Thematic Groups and launch research work leading the publication of the Commission’s first major research output (see below), further develop the Secretariat and its Research & Documentation Team, and launch outreach activities.  
      • Phase III (March 2017 – May 2018): The focus of this phase is tri-fold: carry out planned research work in the various Thematic Groups, expand outreach of the Commission, and develop the Commission report.
      • Phase IV (June 2018 - ): Following the publication of the Commission report, the Commission intends to continue the work to act on the findings and and implement the recommendations.​ 









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