Posted on 19 May 2021
In April 2018, CHE researchers began a collaboration with Universidad de los Andes, LSHTM and the Department of Politics, University of York for ‘War and Peace: The Health and Health System Consequences of Conflict in Colombia’. The goal of War and Peace was to investigate the consequences of long-term internal conflict for population health, the health system and post-conflict health policymaking. Less than two years on from the signing of the Peace Agreement, this was an opportunity to conduct research of immediate policy relevance, and to generate evidence and propose policies to improve the quality of life of Colombians, who have endured over five decades of conflict.
One of the key aspects of War and Peace was the idea of bringing together stakeholders and communities at all stages of the project. Engaging with policymakers and the communities impacted by the conflict was essential, allowing us to produce policy relevant and impactful research.
Quantitative work used both datasets already available, and new data from the CONPAS household survey in Meta, designed by War and Peace researchers. The qualitative work employed focus groups with victims of the conflict and local health professionals, as well as interviews with national and local government officials, civil society representatives, NGO personnel and leaders from international organisations (such as the UN, IOM, Doctors Without Borders, and Red Cross).
As the three year project has come to an end, the team has reflected on its activities and achievements. War and Peace researchers have participated in over 30 engagement events, estimated to have reached over 6000 people. Over the final year of the project, these events changed from in-person meetings and international conferences, to virtual conferences and online events on a range of platforms. Virtual events on Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube have provided an opportunity for War and Peace to reach audiences that otherwise may not have been able to participate.
In March 2021, the team held two final dissemination events, marking the end of this three year collaboration.
Presentations in the first event - 'Health between pandemic and post-conflict: a look after the peace agreement with the FARC' - included: Access to the health system before and after the peace agreement; Health-related quality of life of a conflict-affected population in Colombia; The Effects of Conflict Violence Reduction on Pregnancy Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Colombia; Mental health before and after the peace agreement; and Perceptions from the victims of the armed conflict about the peace agreement and health. The team also shared a video, which included short interviews with victims of the conflict and members of the project team: War and peace: the consequences of the armed conflict on the health of Colombians (YouTube).
A second event was held for invited policymakers and stakeholders from Colombia, including the Governor of Meta, municipal mayors, members of the Department Assembly of Meta, Secretaries of Health, and Secretaries of Human Rights, along with other local stakeholders.
This event was focussed on the department of Meta, with presentations on: Access to Health care in Meta from 2018 to 2019; Mental health situation in Meta after the peace agreement; Perceptions of health from the victims of the armed conflict after the peace agreement: Challenges and recommendations; Health-related quality of life of a conflict-affected population in Colombia; and Inequalities in Mental health after the peace agreement.
It is hoped that evidence and recommendations from War and Peace research will contribute to improving the lives of Colombians who have been, and continue to be, affected by conflict.
War and Peace Publications: