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EHealth for Service Delivery in Conflict: A Narrative Review of The Application of EHealth Technologies in Contemporary Conflict Settings: A Narrative Review of EHealth in Conflict

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Gemma Bowsher, Kristen Meagher, Preeti Patel, Nassim El Achi, Abdulkarim Ekzayez, Bayard Roberts, Katrin Augustin

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Accepted/In press2021

King's Authors

Abstract

The role of eHealth in conflict settings is increasingly important to address geographic, epidemiologic and clinical disparities. This study categorises various forms of eHealth usage in conflict and aims to identify gaps in evidence to make recommendations for further research and practice. The analysis was carried out via a narrative hermeneutic review methodology. Articles that fulfilled the following screening criteria were reviewed; 1) describing an eHealth intervention in active conflict or ongoing insurgency 2) an eHealth intervention targeting a conflict affected population 3) an e-learning platform for delivery in conflict settings 4) non-interventional descriptive reviews relating to eHealth in conflict. Of the 489 papers eligible for screening, 46 merited final inclusion. Conflict settings described include; Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Chechnya, Gaza, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 36 studies described specific eHealth initiatives, whilst the remainder were more generic review papers exploring general principles. Analysis resulted in the elucidation of three final categories of current eHealth activity in conflict-affected settings; 1) eHealth for clinical management 2) e-learning for healthcare in conflict 3) eHealth for information management in conflict. Obvious disparities in the distribution of technological dividends from eHealth in conflict are demonstrated by this review. Conflict-affected populations are predominantly subject to ad hoc and voluntary initiatives delivered by diaspora and civil society organisations. While the deployment of eHealth technologies in conflict settings is increasingly normalised, however there is a need for further clarification of global norms relating to practice in this context.

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