The Higher Population Council Joins the Global Refugee Health Research Network

Tuesday, 16 July 2019
The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in collaboration with the University of the West of Scotland, launched the Global Refugee Health Research Network (GRHRN), which aims to address refugee health issues. This is in partnership with various Jordanian and Uganda institutions, including the Higher Population Council (HPC), whom participated in an international workshop on refugee healthcare during a humanitarian crisis. Currently, Dr. George Palattiyil of the Social Work Department at SPS University's Department of Social Work and Dr. Dina Sidhva of the University of the West of Scotland lead the network.

The network, which connects academics across various disciplines and regions, analyses refugee health requirements and proposes practical solutions through an online platform that facilitates dialogue, interdisciplinary collaborative research, and policy development regarding refugee health. The network, by providing a platform that enables participants to arrive at a consensus on refugee health challenges and needs, ensures that health services during humanitarian crisis abide by human rights standards. Moreover, the network aims to provide participants with opportunities to exchange information, access resources, and share ideas and experiences with regards to responding to refugee healthcare needs. Such endeavors are paramount to implementing effective and evidence-based policies and practices, encouraging dialogue about emerging refugee health issues, evaluating initiatives to strengthen and advance refugee health, and developing a multidisciplinary research plan under the umbrella of a national refugee health agenda.

The recent international workshop at the University of Edinburgh examined a study on "The Quality of Adolescent Refugee Reproductive Healthcare in Uganda and Jordan". The research provides data on adolescent refugees’ access to reproductive healthcare services in affected regions in Uganda and Jordan. The study, also, emphasizes the importance of identifying the adolescent refugees’ psychological and social needs, cultural barriers, and the weaknesses of existing services. The study advocates for the development of a global network focused on refugee health research.

The GRHRN stems from the humanitarian need to address the refugee health outcomes of war, poverty, political instability, human rights violations, and environmental factors affecting some countries. The GRHRN, also, accounts for critical refugee health issues, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, women’s health, and the political implications of refugee health. The School of Social and Political Science (SPS) at the University of Edinburgh has spearheaded this network.