Created by the Conflict and Health Program at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), this is a web-based, educational resource for policymakers and practitioners on the use of field epidemiology in emergency settings. The website presents what are intended to be short, accessible discussions of key issues in field epidemiology as applied to humanitarian emergencies. It is structured so that users can go through the materials in a progressive fashion, or select a specific topic that is of interest to them. It covers the following topics:


  • How to collect and analyse health indicators in conflict settings - An overview of different epidemiological tools, what they can and cannot achieve, and how to choose a survey or surveillance tool depending on conditions (e.g. nutritional emergency, sudden displacement, entrapment) and data collection aims (benchmarking crisis severity, documenting direct and indirect impacts, monitoring different levels of interventions, etc).
  • Principles of health surveys in emergencies - How to commission surveys, what survey estimates can achieve, what inputs are needed, and how to build them into a programme.
  • How to formulate research questions, sampling options, stratification and sample size calculations, and bias - Ethics, planning, logistics, budgeting, and report writing.
  • Principles of emergency surveillance systems - Setting up surveillance systems for mortality, choice of diseases for morbidity surveillance, and case definitions. Monitoring of surveillance systems, data management, and analysis and interpretation issues.
  • Interpreting and using data related to specific outcomes and indicators: mortality, nutrition, health service, vaccination programme, and water supply, sanitation, and shelter - Judging strength of inference and causality, interpreting statistical estimates, making sense of multiple data sources, interpolation and extrapolation.


This website is designed for people who are tasked with commissioning, interpreting, and acting upon epidemiological assessments. This includes non-governmental organisation (NGO), United Nations (UN), and government relief staff, donors, journalists, students, and the broader community of civil society stakeholders who rely on epidemiological data for purposes ranging from programme implementation to advocacy. Any comments on the website can be forwarded to the contact person named below.


Email notice from Olga Bornemisza, forwarded by Ellyn W. Ogden to The Communication Initiative on September 10 2008.