Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH) – New Research Programme

The Health in Humanitarian Crises is now part of a consortium of researchers led by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at The University of Manchester, and with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California, Berkeley, have been awarded £2.5M by the Department for International Development for a new research programme: Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH).

Multiple international studies confirm a global consensus that attacks on health often threaten the sanctity of health care, disrespect the right to health care, and violate international humanitarian law.

Gathering evidence of attacks has to date been crucial in raising awareness of the issue. But existing evidence is largely restricted to the reporting of incidents and their immediate impact, and falls short of providing data on the longer-term and wider impacts of attacks on healthcare access and utilisation as well as broader public health outcomes. In addition, comparing multiple data sources about attacks reveals that there is minimal overlap and inconsistent terminology and criteria, which limit the ability to compare datasets.

The aim of this research is to improve the understanding of the nature, frequency, scale, and impact of attacks on healthcare in conflict through improved data collection and analysis. It will transcend previous work on attacks against healthcare through rigorous new and sustained data collection over the lifetime of the project, and aims to produce data that generate stronger evidence of the scale and nature of the problem and document the impacts of the attacks to support global policy and advocacy efforts.

We are supported by major practitioner partners from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Insecurity Insight are working with us on the data collecting and processing work, and Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, will work with us on policy and impact activities. The project consortium benefits from the membership of multiple practitioner partners that will provide technical advice and support to ensure that the outputs respond to field realities.

For more information please contact the co-investigator Karl Blanchet or

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This project is funded by the Department for International Development.