Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Refugees, healthcare and crises: informal Syrian health workers in Lebanon

Sharif A Ismail, Adam P Coutts, Diana Rayes, Sophie Roborgh, Aula Abbara, Miriam Orcutt, Fouad M Fouad, Gladys Honein, Nour El Arnaout, Aya Noubani, Hana Nimer, Spencer Rutherford

International Institute for Environment and Development



In Syria, seven years of conflict have been catastrophic. Thousands of qualified doctors and health workers have left since 2011. In neighbouring countries, informal employment among displaced Syrian health workers is broadly acknowledged. But its scale, scope and nature are poorly documented.

This working paper details both the scale and the challenges Syrian healthcare workers face in Lebanon. It explores strategies Syrian health workers use to help cope with barriers such as formal labour market entry, the threat of deportation, ethical challenges in practice, and discrimination. There is an urgent need to address legal barriers to registration to practice for Syrian healthcare workers. Key further research includes mapping health worker numbers, specialties and geographical distribution to support workforce planning, and research on current and potential training and development initiatives to further support Syrian health workers.


Available from:



Accompanied by a 4-page briefing, available from:


Search the Book notes database

Our Book notes database contains details and summaries of all the publications included in Book notes since 1993 - with details on how to obtain/download.

Use the search form above, or visit the Book notes landing page for more options and latest content.

For a searchable database for papers in Environment and Urbanization, go to http://eau.sagepub.com/