The 12th Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA) conference was held on 21-23 November 2022 from remote and hosted by the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH) at Birzeit University (BZU) in collaboration with the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Dr. Abdullatif Husseini from Birzeit University moderated the opening session, and introduced Dr. Beshara Doumani, the president of Birzeit University.
Dr. Doumani welcomed the conference participants, and expressed his appreciation and high regard towards the partnership between ICPH and the Lancet. He emphasized the leading role of BZU and ICPH in supporting the development of Palestinian society, and pointed out that 38% of the research abstracts presented to the conference were written by authors with ages ranging between 20-29 years. This is an important step in identifying and encouraging the leadership of the next generation and giving them the floor.
Dr. Mai Alkaileh, the Palestinian Minister of Health, spoke and emphasized that the conference is an important event in public health research at the local, regional and international levels. She also emphasized the support of the Ministry of such initiatives which encourage health research and provide scientific evidence and guidance for the policy making process. She explained how she relies on research in her decision-making process.
Dr. Graham Watt, the Chairman of the LPHA Steering Group, then reflected on the LPHA since its initiation in 2010. He noted that 1722 abstracts have been submitted to the LPHA, 870 have been accepted for presentation, 421 have been published in the Lancet Online and 283 of the accepted abstracts have been turned into subsequent full publications. Dr. Watt concluded by highlighting the importance and effectiveness of the LPHA in giving identity, voice and recognition to the Palestinian experience. Dr. Watt’s reflections and talk are available at this link.
The conference continued with its sessions which included a session on political violence and health, moderated by Dr. Niveen Abu Rmeileh from ICPH; a session on children moderated by Dr. Maysaa Nemer from ICPH, and a session on advocacy moderated by Dr. Jennifer Leaning from Harvard University, USA. These presentations can be found at this link.
The second day of the conference included sessions on the Covid-19 pandemic which was moderated by Dr. Khamis Elessi, from the Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza Strip, and another on Cancer moderated by Dr. Motasem Hamdan, from Alquds University, and a third session on Palestinians moderated by Dr. Huda Zurayk, from the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon. Presentations of the second day can be found at this link.
The last and the third day of the conference included a session on Palestinian refugees, moderated by Dr. Iman Nuwayhid from AUB, followed by a session on medications and drug interactions moderated by Dr. Rana Khatib, from BZU. Then Dr. Hanan Abdulrahim, from Qatar University, took over and moderated the next session on mental health and wellbeing.
In the closing remarks session, Dr. Richard Horton, the Editor-in-Chief of The Lance, emphasized that the situation in Palestine is serious and urgent, and one of the LPHA tasks is to continue to emphasize the abnormality of the Palestinian situation and to highlight the scale of the injustice Palestinians face in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and inside the Green Line. Dr. Horton thanked the authors of the conference abstracts and presenters for their quality work and presentations. He ended by noting that the abstracts submitted and published in the Lancet are examples of resistance.
The winners of the best posters of the conference were then announced by Dr. Rima Afifi from Iowa University, USA who reflected on the 12th LPHA posters. The two winners were Baha’ Eldeen Elwir whose poster was entitled “Insecurity and associated factors among Birzeit University’s community during the COVID-19 pandemic in the occupied Palestinian territory” from ICPH, and Wafaa Zeidan from UNRWA, Amman. Her poster was entitled “An assessment of staffing needs at UNRWA health facilities using the WHO workload indicators of staffing need (WISN)”.
In this year’s conference 62 abstracts (46% of the total submitted abstracts) were accepted for presentation, 17 were accepted as oral and 45 as poster presentations. 38% of authors were 20-29 years old, 31% between 30-39 and 31% were 40 years old or more. Women accounted for 57% of authors, while 41% of the authors were students. 34% of authors were from the West Bank (including East-Jerusalem), 33 % were from the Gaza Strip, 21 % internationals and 2% were from inside the Green Line.
The Conference was attended by 338 participants on Zoom, and viewed by 370 viewers on Facebook by the end of the last day. The majority of the conference audience on Facebook were women at 72% compared to 28% men. The audience came from different parts of the world; Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine (West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Greenline), the United States, Turkey and United Arab Emirates,
The LPHA comprises a collaboration of Palestinian, regional and international researchers, committed to the highest scientific standards in describing, analyzing and evaluating the health and health care of Palestinians, in order to contribute to the international scientific literature and to develop local evidence-based policy and practices.
Conference recordings for each day are available at the ICPH YouTube channel.