The Lancet and the American University of Beirut have together established the concept for a Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict. Co-chaired by Harvard FXB’s Dr. Jennifer Leaning, the aim of the Commission will be to describe, analyse and interrogate the calamity before us through the lens of health and wellbeing. With this Commission, we aim to examine five priority areas: health of people inside Syria; health of refugees and host communities; health systems, which includes the pillars of health professionals, delivery, infrastructure, and transition to rebuilding; challenges of the international response to the crisis particularly health-related international law violations and humanitarian aid design and delivery; and policy options and next steps, including those that can strengthen the role of global health in conflict and health more broadly. The Commission will develop concrete recommendations to address the unmet current and future health needs.
Syrian Data Project
The Syrian war is one of the most data-rich conflicts in modern times and the abundance of evidence in Syria can be overwhelmingly persuasive if we have the capacity to collect and translate it. The FXB Center is collaborating with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Services (UOSSM) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Our aim is to show how devastating and enduring the effects of war are on societies and to underscore how essential it is that the UN and global powers adopt robust early warning mechanisms with forceful response strategies.
In total, the FXB Center has access to upwards of 12 to 15 million patient interactions from the past five years of the conflict. We plan to combine this clinical and healthcare delivery data with information culled from a wide range of sources, including publications, UN and NGO datasets, news and social media. Other large population and weapons impact data sets are also being made available and we are collaborating with colleagues at Boston University to include a geo-spatial analysis of destruction of cultural heritage sites. The end product will include a searchable, interactive data visualization tool with GIS overlays, geo-locations and time-stamps that can illustrate the medical and societal impact of the Syrian conflict on the populations throughout the region. This data visualization tool will allow us to discern patterns and trends that are not now apparent and so will also prompt new questions, new lines of inquiry and analysis.
Read about a recent FXB/SAMS panel: Stories from Aleppo: Medical Workers under Siege.