Health inequalities in post-conflict settings: A systematic review

Dieudonne Bwirire*, Rik Crutzen, Edmond Ntabe Namegabe, Rianne Letschert, Nanne de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Conflict can be a primary driver of health inequalities, but its impact on the distribution of social determinants of health is not very well documented. Also, there is limited evidence on the most suitable approaches aiming at addressing health inequalities in post-conflict settings. Thus, we undertook a systematic review of the literature concerning the current knowledge and knowledge gaps about structural determinants of health inequalities and assessed the effects of approaches aimed at addressing health inequalities in post-conflict settings. We performed a systematic search in bibliographic databases such as Web of Science, PubMed, and PsycINFO for relevant publications, as well as institutional websites that are relevant to this topic. The search was initiated in March 2018 and ultimately updated in December 2020. No time or geographical restrictions were applied. The quality of each study included in this review was independently assessed using criteria developed by CASP to assess all study types. Sixty-two articles were deemed eligible for analysis. The key findings were captured by the most vulnerable population groups, including the civilian population, women, children, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and people with symptoms of mental illness. A considerable range of approaches has been used to address health inequalities in post-conflict settings. These approaches include those used to address structural determinants of health inequalities which are accountable for the association between poverty, education, and health inequalities, the association between human rights and health inequalities, and the association between health inequalities and healthcare utilization patterns. However, these approaches may not be the most applicable in this environment. Given the multifactorial characteristics of health inequalities, it is important to work with the beneficiaries in developing a multi-sector approach and a strategy targeting long-term impacts by decision-makers at various levels. When addressing health inequalities in post-conflict settings, it may be best to combine approaches at different stages of the recovery process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0265038
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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