Women's Health in the oPt: Inclusion and Exclusion

in collaboration with Birzeit University

LSE PI: Dr Ernestina Coast
Co-PI: Professor Rita Giacaman
Duration: May 2014–October 2015


The long-running and ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has had a large impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of Palestinians. A study conducted following the 2008–2009 war on Gaza revealed poor health-related quality of life (QOL) among adults, with significant associations between low QOL and war-related factors e.g.: distress, insecurity and suffering), with women reporting worse QOL scores compared to men. The health-related impacts of conflict have significant gender associations, although they remain under-researched. Based on the limited evidence available therefore, Palestinian women suffer higher than expected rates of chronic diseases compared to women in comparable parts of the Arab World.

However, it is not sufficient to simply consider gender differentials, we also need to consider whether there are significant differences in the health of sub-groups of women. It is therefore important to identify factors associated with ill health and disparities in ill-health within the country among women, in order to inform policies and interventions.

The research addresses the implications of the variations in availability, accessibility, and quality of women’s health services, taking into account associated demographic, socio-economic and political factors. For that, four groups of women whose health needs are neglected (or at best poorly served) in the oPt were identified:

  • women who marry under age 18
  • never-married women
  • married women who are not pregnant
  • menopausal women

Policy Briefs

The project produced three policy briefs which can be downloaded below:

Policy Brief 9
Health problems reported by 15-54 year old women two weeks preceding the Family Health Survery 2010

Policy Brief 10
Self-rated health of 15-54 year old women 

Policy Brief 9
the prevalence of reported anemia and its determinants among 15-54 year old Palestinian women


Aims of the project

  • To generate new knowledge and improved understanding of the factors affecting women’s health in oPt
  • To widely disseminate the research findings to a range of academic and non-academic audiences
  • To enhance the capacity development in mixed methods quantitative and qualitative) data collection and analyses in health research at Birzeit University
  • To actively engage with research users and policymakers in order to maximise the impact of the research
  • To strengthen the research collaboration between LSE and Birzeit University in the field of health research in the Middle East

Research Team


Ernestina Coast | Principal Investigator

Ernestina is Associate Professor in Population Studies in the Department of Social Policy at LSE. 


Rita Giacaman | Co-Principal Investigator

Rita is Professor of Public Health at the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH). 


Tiziana Leone | LSE Co-Principal Investigator

Tiziana is Lecturer in demography in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.



David Lewis | LSE Co-Principal Investigator

David is Professor of Social Policy and Development at LSE. He is also Head of the Department of Social Policy.



image credit: Physicians for Human Rights, flickr.com, 2012.