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Understanding Health and Fragility from a Systems Perspective

Fragile, conflict affected situations or ‘fragile settings’ have among the weakest health systems and worst health indicators in the world. Despite this recognition, however, notable gaps in research and tools linking health and fragility remain. For actors working to improve health conditions in fragile settings, the absence of an appropriate conceptualization of fragility cast through a health lens has the potential to significantly hinder an understanding of the environment in which they operate, with implications for the health programs they design and implement.

Recognizing the challenges presented by the absence of a health-sensitive understanding of fragility, Momentum Integrated Health Resilience (MIHR) commissioned IRMA consultants to develop a fragility conceptual model and typology to better understand the fragile settings in which MIHR work is implemented and, in turn, strengthen health programming. The conceptual model developed by IRMA draws on an expansive literature review and a range of fragility and risk measurement frameworks and presents a systems-oriented approach to understanding and assessing fragility and the relationship between key indicators of fragility and health.

MIHR further commissioned IRMA to apply the conceptual model in a comparative analysis of fragility, conflict sensitivity and complexity in MIHR operating countries and the implications for health programming.

IRMA’s team for this assignment was Hannah Vaughan-Lee and Lezlie Morinière.

 

Photo credit: Mother and child visit a clinic in central Somalia run by soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia, courtesy of Abdi Dakan (AU/UN IST PHOTO).