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Collecting Data on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Lab

What are the data problems that this Lab is working to solve?

Currently, the global forcibly displaced population exceeds 65 million people, with one in four being a woman or girl of reproductive age. They are at serious risk of death or disability due to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) complications, including: unsafe abortion, a major contributor to maternal death and disability in humanitarian contexts; forced marriage; and, sexual violence. They are also at an elevated risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

The lack of data on SRH in humanitarian settings is a critical global issue. This data problem presents challenges for effective resource allocation and timely service delivery, thereby impacting the health outcomes of extraordinarily vulnerable populations, especially women and girls.

Key data issues:

  • Data gaps: Consistent, reliable and rigorously collected data on SRH in humanitarian settings is sparse across the globe. This gap is even more pronounced when the SRH issue is politicized, such as with abortion data.
  • Low data quality: The limited data that is available is often inconsistent, producing highly variable content and quality. Limited data and its poor availability also complicates the measurement of the impact of interventions, including life-saving interventions such as abortion, that take place during emergencies.
  • Missing or inaccessible data: Currently, it is unclear what happens to SRH data that is collected in conflict settings, and whether the data is being used or can be used to benefit current or future humanitarian programming efforts.

How are partners navigating this innovation?

  • Leveraging a renewed global dialogue: In 2018, the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) released an updated edition of their Inter-Agency Field Manual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings, providing explicit guidelines to data collection and monitoring and evaluation at different stages of an emergency. This project will leverage the release of an updated manual and the rekindled discussions it has brought forth. The team will dedicate its efforts to improving data collection on SRH in humanitarian settings and the development of indicators.
  • Strengthening Capacity: Building on established partnerships, this initiative will strengthen the capacity of SRH research in Canada, as well as train and mobilize resources for SRH teams in humanitarian settings to help improve their data collection processes.
  • Creating generalizable approaches for data collection in humanitarian settings: This initiative spans six countries and will develop an approach and tools for collecting data that can be successfully replicated across different humanitarian settings. The tools will be designed to be more broadly used, as well as to facilitate expansion and promote adherence to global guidelines.
  • Embracing Diversity in Context: This initiative will apply a broader multi-country (6) assessment approach to collect data and develop tools which can be successfully replicated across all humanitarian settings. Despite diversity in humanitarian context, the tools will be enabled to facilitate expansion, support scale-up and promote adherence to global guidelines.

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