Defining research priorities for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in humanitarian settings – World



An estimated 70.8 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, 75% of whom are women and children. Prioritizing a global research agenda to inform the direction, service delivery, access and quality of services is essential to improve the survival and health of women, children and adolescents in humanitarian settings.


A mixed-method design was adapted from the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) methodology to solicit priority research questions in the areas of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn health. , infantile and adolescent girl (SRMNCAH) in humanitarian contexts. The first step (CHNRI) involved collecting data and scoring perceived priority questions, using a two-round online survey (first, to generate the questions and second, to score them). Over 1000 stakeholders from all over the world were approached; 177 participated in the first survey and 69 participated in the second. These research questions were prioritized by generating a research prioritization score (RPP) in four dimensions: accountability, program feasibility, public health relevance, and equity. A Delphi process of 29 experts followed, where the 50 rated and prioritized CHRNI research questions were shortlisted. The first five questions from the CHNRI score list for each SRMNCAH domain were voted on, resulting in a final list by domain.


A total of 280 questions were generated. The questions generated covered sexual and reproductive health (SRH) (n = 90, 32.1%), maternal health (n = 75, 26.8%), neonatal health (n = 42, 15.0%) , child health (n = 43, 15.4%) and non-SRH aspects of adolescent health (n = 31, 11.1%). A shortlist of the ten priority questions for each area was generated based on the calculated RPPs. During the Delphi process, priority issues, based on the CHNRI process, were further refined. Five shortlisted questions from each of the SRMNCAH areas were formulated, resulting in 25 priority questions across the SRMNCAH. For example, one of the priority research questions on prescreened and prioritized SRH included: “What are the effective strategies for implementing good quality comprehensive contraceptive services (long-acting, short-acting, and CE)? for women and girls in humanitarian situations? “


Data needs, effective intervention strategies and approaches, as well as greater efficiency and quality in the delivery of care in humanitarian settings were prioritized. The results of this research provide guidance to researchers, program implementers, and donor agencies on SRMNCAH research priorities in humanitarian contexts. A global research agenda could save the lives of those most at risk and vulnerable, as well as increase translation and innovation opportunities for SRMNCAH in humanitarian settings.

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