The Covid-19 pandemic has completely altered social, economic, and political life around the world along with significant impacts on health and health systems. At ICPH, our faculty, researchers, and students have been conducting research in order to understand the impacts of COVID-19 in Palestine and implications for health. 

ICPH covid-19 related research:

1. Understanding what the Covid-19 lockdown means for women:

Under the supervision of Professor Rita Giacaman and assistance from researcher Rula Ghandour, ICPH's Master of Public Health students completed a qualitative study entailing analyzing 11 transcripts focusing on what lockdown due to COVID-19 means for Palestinian women. While the results are not generalize-able, nevertheless, qualitative investigations are important to bring insights into the added burdens women face in an already burdened context and can prepare the way for a quantitative investigation. 

Publication from research:

Triple captivity: Palestinian women under Israeli military rule in the time of COVID-19

2. Examining the effects of Covid-19 on mental health among the Birzeit University community:

Under the supervision of Professor Rita Giacaman and assistance from researcher Rula Ghandour, ICPH's Master of Public Health students conducted a quantitative study on the effects of COVID-19 on mental health. This study focuses on Birzeit University's undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. The questionnaire was filled electronically, with an excellent distribution of results, reflecting the natural proportion of undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff.  Students completed data analysis, wrote seminar reports, and submitted a paper to an international refereed journal which was published in October 2020.

Publication from research:

Double burden of COVID-19 pandemic and military occupation: mental health among a Palestinian university community in the West Bank.

3. The Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the West Bank:

Researchers from ICPH (Weeam Hammoudeh, Hala Khalawi, Suzan Mitwalli, and Rita Giacaman) are conducting qualitative research aimed at understanding people’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic in a context of broader structural uncertainty. The study explores people’s experiences of uncertainty stemming from the covid-19 pandemic and how it intersects with other forms of structural uncertainties related to the social and political determinants of health. This work is connected to the research team’s work on understanding uncertainty and its impacts on health in the Palestinian context as part of the R4HC-MENA program. 

4. Health systems strengthening through preparedness in COVID health emergency for refugees and IDPs in the West Bank.

This project is part of an initiative that will provide evidence and strengthen capacity for bridging the knowledge gap in responding to the growing COVID-19 health crisis both in the short-term and longer-term. The initiative will support research on resilience building and preparedness to serve the needs of refugees and other populations on the move by promoting inter-sectoral approaches, including building bridges between humanitarian and development responses to reduce and control health risks for displaced populations, and leverage local opportunities.

This project will generate evidence to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and internally-displaced people in the West Bank and the health system’s ability to meet their needs. It will also strengthen the health system through incorporating research and health information system strengthening. The methodology for this study will comprise three phases. There will be an initial rapid situation assessments and community engagement to analyze the pandemic response and engage with institutional and policy stakeholders. Next phase is larger scale quantitative and qualitative research activities followed by the translation of research for policy and practice to inform longer term preparedness and resilience of the health system. Throughout these stages, building capacities for research will be carried out, particularly in health system preparedness with regards to health human resources, health information system and community engagement. This project will lead to enhanced knowledge production both for short-term rapid response to COVID-19 as well as a longer-term participatory approach to pandemic preparedness and resilience from a gender and equity perspective for refugee and internally displaced populations.

Other Publications related to Covid-19:

In addition to research, faculty and researchers at ICPH have been involved in writing and presenting on the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic in Palestine, drawing on current and past research. This has included the following publications on Covid-19: 

- Roundtable: On mental health amid Covid-19

- Social and political determinants of health in the occupied Palestine territory (oPt) during the COVID-19 pandemic: who is responsible?

- Tracking COVID-19 responsibly

- كورونا وفلسطين …مجهولية الحاضر والمستقبل: تأملات من الواقع الفلسطيني المعاش في الضفة الغربية 

- What is the preparedness and capacity of palliative care services in Middle-Eastern and North African countries to respond to COVID-19? A rapid survey

Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance Online workshop on COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic: from the global, local and regional perspectives