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Reducing the impact of COVID-19 among refugee and displaced populations

December 9, 2020
Displaced populations are at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 because they live in conditions that make it difficult to practice physical distancing, to self-isolate, or to access quality healthcare.
A Rohingya woman refugee, and a Balukhali settlement leader, stands among temporary shelters in this camp in Bangladesh.
Allison Joyce/UN Women

Eight research teams are working to generate evidence to reduce COVID-19 related health risks for refugee, displaced, and migrant populations during and after the pandemic. Research in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East is focusing on rapid responses and on building resilience and preparedness. The approaches benefit women and girls in particular, in addition to building bridges between humanitarian and development responses for maximum impact. The projects are also nurturing links between researchers, communities, and decision-makers to promote science-based, localized public health responses that minimize risks in the short and long terms.

The COVID-19 Initiative on the Health of Refugees and Vulnerable Populations aims to provide rapid access to evidence and guidance for countries with refugees and large displaced populations in an effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and prepare for future disease outbreaks. The research focuses on:

  • strengthening health system responses
  • documenting evidence on early response
  • promoting community-centered pandemic responses
  • digital health solutions
  • sexual and reproductive health and rights

The research is also shedding light on differentiated needs and supporting more inclusive, evidence-informed, and gender-equal responses to COVID-19 and a global recovery.

Projects under the COVID-19 Initiative on the Health of Refugees and Vulnerable Populations

With an emphasis on evidence-based and locally relevant pandemic responses aimed at refugee and displaced populations, this initiative is building longer-term resilience and preparedness in health systems and among vulnerable populations in their host communities.