American Univesity of Beirut

 Improving public health preparedness to COVID-19 and future emergencies in Lebanon

​Study period:  2020-2023

Funder: International Development Research Centre​ IDRC​

In early 2020, the world was faced with the global pandemic of COVID-19. This has brought to the public eye the importance of public health and emergency preparedness. It has also starkly illustrated how the disease both reveals and worsens existing inequities in any society, and there was growing concern of the disproportionate effect the pandemic will have on the most vulnerable populations.

The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut is conducting a comprehensive 3-year project to inform and help strengthen the role of public health in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and future health emergencies in fragile community settings. To achieve this action-oriented research project, FHS will mobilize its homegrown 360° system-network model, engaging the three functions of public health, namely research, practice, and policy, through its respective centers: CRPH (Center for Research on Population & Health), CPHP (Center for Public Health Practice), and K2P (Knowledge to Policy) Center.

A participatory and community-based public health approach will be developed for the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions against COVID-19 and other health emergencies in Sin El Fil, Lebanon. To ensure that these respond to changing needs of vulnerable subpopulations in Sin El Fil, a rotating phone panel survey, led by CRPH, will be conducted over several waves of data collection. This survey design will allow us to assess indicators of vulnerabilities to COVID-19 and their changes over time in groups of populations at higher risk of exposure or severe outcomes to COVID-19. The local community-based intervention and research will run in parallel along with a critical assessment of the Lebanese national actions and policies in this pandemic. This will help inform a national dialogue about public health preparedness and identify good practices and recommend changes.

Research Team

- Jocelyn DeJong (PI)

- Aline Germani (co PI)

- Fadi El Jardali (co PI)

- Hala Ghattas (co PI)

- Nada Melhem (co I)

- Stephen McCall​ (co I)

- Marie Elizabeth Ragi

- Dana Zayoud

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