Background: The violent conflict in Syria has caused the largest humanitarian crisis of our time. To raise the profile of the Syrian crisis in global health and mobilise a stronger international response, The Lancet and the American University of Beirut (AUB) launched the ‘Lancet Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict’. The Commission invited the Center for Systematic Reviews on Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK) and the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center at AUB to support and contribute to its work.
Method: We proposed a systematic approach to help guide the work of the Commission. The approach encompasses four steps: (a) selection of priorities; (b) scoping reviews; (c) evidence synthesis; and, (d) knowledge translation (KT). In this presentation, we will discuss the approach and reflect on the process, challenges and timelines.
Results: Step 1: a meeting with key stakeholders and experts was held in December 2016 to select priority themes pertaining to the Syrian crisis. One of the themes selected by the Commission for a policy paper was ‘Healthcare workers in conflict settings’. Step 2: we conducted a rapid scoping review on this theme. We were able to supply the relevant literature to support the policy paper within 2 weeks. Step 3: our scoping review generated an evidence-gap map that was used to select the topic of violence against healthcare workers as the focus for a full systematic review for our team. Step 4: our team is discussing with the Commission the KT plan to promote uptake of findings into policies and actions.
Conclusion: The proposed approach has proven to be feasible and acceptable so far, but not without challenges. If this experience is successful, other Lancet Commissions could use the approach to promote a systematic process that spans from priority-setting to evidence synthesis and KT to impact policy and action.