Synthesized evidence on conflict and war: a systematic map and critical appraisal of systematic reviews




Oral session: Overviews, rapid reviews, and other types of evidence synthesis (3)


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 16:00 to 17:30


All authors in correct order:

Saad Z1, Lotfi T1, Ismail H2, Haddaway N3, Akl E1
1 The Global Evidence Synthesis Initiative (GESI) Secretariat, American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon
2 American University of Beirut, Lebanon
3 Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Zahra Saad

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: in 2017, the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide came at a record rate of 44,400 every day. Millions suffer or are displaced as a result of persecution, conflict or generalized violence. In a humanitarian disaster, there is an urge to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian efforts to ensure that interventions and policies are impactful to meet needs of affected populations. In fact, evidence synthesis should be conducted on several sectors in the humanitarian field to synthesize research and communicate findings to stakeholders in order to improve humanitarian policy and practices.

1) to rigorously identify and critically appraise published systematic reviews in the humanitarian field;
b) to publish a user-friendly, interactive and readily digestible map of the evidence accessible to stakeholders through a link.

Methods: the inclusion criteria are:
1) systematic reviews as the study type;
2) persons of concern as the population of interest;
c) humanitarian crisis related to war and conflict as the setting.

We searched 11 electronic databases after developing a search strategy using terms derived from the definitions of 'humanitarian crises' and 'persons of concern'. For studies meeting the inclusion criteria, we extracted the title, year of publication, name of author(s), type of conflict occurring, population, intervention, comparison, outcomes, study objectives, category of paper, disciplinary approach used and dates of included studies. We assessed the quality of the included papers using 'Assessing the methodological quality of systematic reviews (AMSTAR)' tool.

Results: we identified 2441 papers and reports and included 349 after assessing eligibility. We will present the results of the critical appraisal and synthesis at the time of the Colloquium as we are finalising these steps at the moment.

Conclusions: while the research production on conflict and wars is increasing globally, it is important to identify systematic reviews and assess their quality in order to inform decision makers when setting policies, and researchers when setting priorities for primary studies.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: patients are not involved in this project. We will, however, use the findings to choose future topics for systematic reviews while involving consumers to make sure the systematic reviews are relevant and usable.