Women Leaders in Health and Conflict

Upcoming events

Opportunity Amidst Challenge: Community-Led, Youth-Powered COVID-19 Research in Sudan

Tuesday 23 February, 17:00 - 18:00


Sudan is facing COVID-19 at a time of great political and economic instability. Throughout the epidemic volunteer organisations have served as the first, and often only, responders providing direct support and raising awareness for behaviour change within their communities.

Young Sudanese men and women, part of the 10,000 strong Sudan Youth-Peer network, quickly mobilised across the country to conduct action research and implement evidence-based programmes to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in their communities. This effort is led by a dynamic group of young Sundanese activists at the heart of the Sudan Y-PEER volunteer movement. They, along with their colleagues in the Sudan COVID-19 Research group (a collaboration of the Sudan Y-Peer network, University of Khartoum, LSHTM and with support from UK Aid) aim to galvanise a cadre of young Sudanese disease detectives to investigate epidemics in real-time and respond building on their communities’ strengths and resources.  Along the way they also aim to document and share their experiences, not only of challenges but of opportunities amidst the most difficult circumstances.


Dr Maysoon Dahab

Maysoon is an assistant professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the LSHTM. She has 19 years of experience leading the development and implementation of operational health research in low-income countries and especially in crises affected populations and has been focusing on supporting community led COVID-19 research and advocacy in Sudan since the start of the epidemic in the country. 

Rahaf Abu Koura

Rahaf is a research fellow with the Infectious Disease Epidemiology department at LSHTM. She has over 8 years of professional experience supporting the implementation and development of various health programmes and research focusing on crisis affected populations and humanitarian settings. At the start of the pandemic, Rahaf coordinated a COVID-19 project in Syria to support the efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the country. In her current role, Rahaf and her colleagues are supporting community-led COVID-19 research and advocacy in Sudan. 

Israa Zain Alabdeen

Israa is the National Coordinator for Y-peer Sudan and a member of the Sudan COVID-19 Research Group. She has a BA Hons in sociology and social anthropology, and she is working towards an MSc in Development Planning at University of Khartoum.

Omamah Abbas

Omamah graduated from the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Khartoum and specialized in the field of epidemiology. She has been a member of Y-PEER Sudan since 2018, and she is currently Sudan Y-PEER Khartoum State coordinator for the ongoing COVID-19 research and advocacy project.

Ahmed Abd Elhameed

Abd Elhameed is an MSc Student at the University of Kordofan Faculty of Science, a former teaching and research assistant at University of Kordofan. Abd Elhameed is the founder of the Debates Club at Kordofan University. He joined Y-PEER Sudan as a member in 2016 and started as a trainer in 2018. He is a trainer at Sudan Debates Centre and the National Coordinator for the COVID-19 research and advocacy project in Sudan.


The Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre are excited to partner with King’s College London on the Women Leaders in Heath and Conflict (WLHC) initiative. The WLHC is a newly formed group of aspiring and established women working as researchers and practitioners within fragile and conflict-affected areas to challenge the status quo and enhance opportunities for women’s leadership.

The WLHC initiative highlights and foregrounds the leadership women undertake in areas of armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies. Grouping together aspiring and established experts, we are working collaboratively with academic partners, NGOs, humanitarian practitioners and policy makers to build a sustainable platform that addresses significant challenges, and opportunities, for women’s leadership in the conflict and health sector.

Women Leaders in Health and Conflict (WLHC) outside LSHTM after the first jointly hosted event in February 2020.






(L - R) Kristen Meagher, King's College London; Dr Nancy Tamimi, King's College London; Dr Nassim El Achi, American University in Beirut; Dr Preeti Patel, King's College London; Dr Neha Singh, LSHTM

WLHC committee outside

Why focus on women?

  • Women are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies.
  • Women are increasingly at the forefront of improving health for conflict-affected populations: through service delivery, education and capacity strengthening, advocacy and research.
  • Women continue to make important contributions to health system development; improving evidence and humanitarian interventions, uncovering human rights abuses, highlighting the detrimental health outcomes of marginalised groups, and bringing vital knowledge and intervention gaps to global attention.

Our objectives and activities:

  • Undertaking quantitative and qualitative research on women’s leadership in conflict and health.
  • Creating a network of researchers and practitioners working towards the advancement of women leaders in conflict affected areas.
  • Accelerating a global mentorship programme within which senior female and male leaders’ mentor the next generation of women leaders in conflict and health.
  • A series of lectures and conferences hosted at King’s College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and other UK partners, across the MENA region and in other conflict-affected regions.
  • Profiling women leaders in health and conflict.

Find out more

For queries, please contact Neha Singh ( or Kristen Meagher (