Protracted refugee situations: Parallel health systems and planning for the integration of services

Elizabeth A. Rowley, Gilbert M. Burnham, Rabbin M. Drabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The international community typically responds to refugee situations by establishing 'care and maintenance' programmes specifically for refugees. Limited resources may also be directed to hosting communities, but donors often channel the bulk of funding through UNHCR and its implementing partner NGOs, who in turn create service delivery structures that are operated in parallel to local structures. Although there may be cause for this approach in a short-term emergency phase, particularly if the host country systems are very weak, this eventually becomes financially problematic if refugees continue to live in exile for years at a time. In the short term, it can also engender an inequitable and inefficient use of scarce resources. This paper traces the evolution and impact of implementing refugee health services in parallel to local systems using observations from Uganda, and offers Quality Design as a model for planning the local integration of services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-186
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Health service delivery
  • Integration of services
  • Northern Uganda
  • Protracted refugee situations
  • Southern Sudan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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