The Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA) held its 10th annual conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Amman, Jordan on March 27-28, 2019. The conference was organized jointly by the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH) at Birzeit University (BZU) with collaboration from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The conference was hosted this year by the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). A total of 200 participants attended the conference from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Qatar, AUE, Sudan, Norway, Italy, the UK, France, Japan, AUE, the USA and Canada.
The conference began with welcoming words from Dr. Saeb Khrisat, President of JUST and Dr. Asem Khalil, Vice President for Community Affairs speaking on behalf of Dr. Abdulltif Abu Hijleh, President of BZU. An introductory session followed where Professor Graham Watt, Chair of the LPHA Steering Group, reviewed the development process of the LPHA, and Tamara Lucas from the Lancet highlighted LPHA contributions, tasks, and challenges ahead.
This year at total of 320 abstracts were submitted to the conference, of which 26 were chosen for oral presentation and 69 for poster presentation. Oral presentation sessions addressed issues related to the Great March of Return in the Gaza strip, Appraisal of Clinical and Survey Instruments, the Social and Political Determinants of Health, Adolescent and Child Health, Conflict and Health, Mental Health, Cancer Survival-Risk-Control and Experience, and Report on UNRWA's Situation, among several other topics.
The ICPH at BZU in the occupied Palestinian territory holds the secretariat of the LPHA. The conference is the culmination of activities which are conducted throughout the year mostly at ICPH focusing on training and capacity strengthening of young researchers in undertaking quality health research. The location of the annual conference alternates between Birzeit (hosted by ICPH at BZU), Beirut (hosted by FHS at AUB), and Amman (hosted by JUST). Next year the conference will be held at Birzeit University.
The conference ended with a celebration of ten years of LPHA conferences and activities, which included soliciting the views of participants on how they would like to see the LPHA develop in the future.
This is the tenth conference in a series of LPHA annual conferences taking place in the region since 2010, when the LPHA was established following publication of the Lancet special issue on Health in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2009. It builds on previous conferences held in different cities in the region over the past 8 years. During these conferences, we were seeing a considerable rise in the number of abstracts submitted to the LPHA conference, and a growing number accepted for poster presentation. Significantly many conference presentations continue their way to publication having benefitted from comments of peer reviewers of abstracts and at presentation. The LPHA conferences are also attracting an increasing number of participants interested in the health and wellbeing of Palestinians.
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.
Its main activities include developing measurement and other scientific methods that are culture-specific; increasing capacity for research; encouraging advocacy based on science; and promoting academic collaboration within the occupied Palestinian Territory, across the region, and the globe.