Call for Papers: NCD Prevention in Humanitarian Settings

BMJ Global Health, in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee, the Conflict & Health Research Group at King’s College London and the College of Health at Lehigh University, are pleased to announce a call for papers on Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Prevention in Humanitarian Settings. Edited by BMJ Global Health associate editor Dr. Eduardo J. Gómez of Lehigh University, Dr. Lilian Kiapi of the International Rescue Committee, and Dr. Preeti Patel of King’s College London, this special issue will examine the response to NCDs in humanitarian conflict settings.

Today’s conflict affected countries have some of the highest prevalence of NCDs globally. WHO estimates that diabetes, for example, affects 12% of adults in Syria, 13.7% of adults in Libya, and 7.7% of adults in Yemen. Many refugee camps and settlements are no longer temporary accommodation; some have been home to displaced people for 3 or 4 decades, such as Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya, and Mae La in Thailand. In those settings, NCDs are the leading cause of death and must be addressed. In addition to the four main risk factors – unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol – WHO recently added a fifth leading NCD risk factor: air pollution. Notably, poor air quality could be responsible for up to a quarter of strokes and heart disease, a third of lung cancers, and almost half of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cases.

Despite these challenges, preventing NCDs through aggressive monitoring and policy interventions is still not prioritized in these countries and settings. Primary prevention is not a priority during acute emergency and conflict situations. But secondary prevention measures are important in such scenarios. Patients with existing diagnoses of NCDs require continuity of care to prevent acute exacerbations and complications of their disease, and ultimately prevent premature deaths. Conversely, in long-standing and more stable contexts, such as refugee camps, primary prevention initiatives are possible. However, NCD prevention is seldom addressed in humanitarian contexts, and there is little evidence and research to guide the development of interventions. In 2015, a systematic review highlighted the dire lack of research on NCDs in humanitarian contexts, and ELRHA has listed NCDs as a priority research area.

In addressing this lacuna in the literature, papers submitted to this series should consist of the following:

  • Case studies on initiatives to tackle NCD risk factors among Internally Displaced People (IDPs), and in refugee camps and settlements;
  • Case studies on secondary prevention initiates and continuity of care for NCD patients during conflict;
  • Qualitative research on health behaviors and attitudes among refugee and displaced persons;
  • Implementation and evaluation of interventions designed to reduce NCD risk factors;
  • Quantitative analysis and prevalence studies on the burden of NCD risk factors in humanitarian contexts.
  • Commercial determinants of NCDs, corporate behavior and policy influence in humanitarian contexts.
  • Systematic reviews and evidence syntheses on any of the above.

At this stage, we are seeking abstracts of potential submissions. Please limit your abstracts to 1-2 paragraphs and submit them to The deadline for the receipt of abstracts will be June 01 2020. After a careful evaluation, potential authors will be invited to submit a full article. All articles will be subject to peer-review and will need to adhere to BMJ Global Health guidelines. In addition, please note that authors are responsible for payment of publication fees, should their article be accepted for publication. The usual article processing charges and waiver policy will apply.

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