Essential healthcare services provided to conflict-affected internally displaced populations in low and middle-income countries: Asystematic review

Winifred Ekezie*, Enemona Emmanuel Adaji, Rachael L. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Conflict and violent crises have resulted in over 40 million of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most affected regions lack access to basic health resources and generally rely on humanitarian support. The objective of this review was to appraise primary health service interventions among conflict-induced internally displaced populations in low and middle-income countries between 2000 and 2019. Methods: A systematic review of literature in the following databases: Embase, MEDLINE, PsyArticles, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, LILAC and CAB Articles, was performed to identify interventions implemented in conflict IDP settings. Results: Initial searches yielded 4578 papers and 30 studies met the inclusion criteria. Descriptive synthesis analysis was used, and the final selections were assessed using a customised Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist. Included papers were from Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East regions. Most studies were on prevention interventions, especially water treatment and maternal health. Treatment interventions mostly focused on malaria and mental health. Only one food and nutrition study with outcome data was identified, indicating limitations in IDP health-related intervention publications. Reported interventions were conducted between one week to five years, and the study qualities were moderate. The most effective interventions were integrated programmes and common challenges were weak study methodology and data reporting. Conclusion: Regardless of the intervention types and durations, the services offered were beneficial to the IDPs. More intervention evidence are, however required as shown in gaps around food and nutrition, health education and disease surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Promotion Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original
work is properly cited


  • Armed conflict
  • Early medical intervention
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Low
  • Middle-income countries
  • Primary healthcare


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