Rita Giacaman

Rita Giacaman
Birzeit University · Institute of Community and Public Health

About

191
Publications
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3,375
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January 2004 - December 2012
Birzeit University

Publications

Publications (191)
Article
Menstrual health is important for adolescent girls and is particularly compromised in displaced communities due to restricted access to information and lack of private spaces to manage menstruation. Menarche is the biological and social milestone of girls’ adolescence, marking the onset of puberty and confirming womanhood in many communities. It al...
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Objective To examine the moderating role of health literacy in the association between direct exposure to violence and weight status among Palestinian adolescents. Design A household cross-sectional study conducted in 2017. Setting A Palestinian district of the West Bank. Participants Palestinian adolescents aged 11–16 years. Results After excl...
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Background: Conflict reduces availability of production input and income, increases the number of days households had to rely on less preferred foods, and limits the variety of foods eaten and the portion size of meals consumed. While existing studies examine the impact of conflict on different food security measures (e.g., Food Consumption Score,...
Article
Background: Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath of axons, leading to symptoms that include loss of function, fatigue, blindness, and loss of balance. It is more common in women than in men. The disease has detrimental effects on patients' health-related quality of life (QOL), physically...
Article
Background: Palestinian refugee camps have lasted for more than 70 years. Generally the residents are poor and the camps are crowded and politically unstable, with a range of social, cultural, and economic constraints. Studying the adolescent reproductive health of girls in refugee camps is crucial yet challenging, primarily because of its sensiti...
Article
Background: East Jerusalem residency status for more than 350 000 Palestinians depends on showing that there is a continued centre of life in the city and can be revoked on the grounds of a breach of allegiance. 2975 Palestinians in East Jerusalem were displaced or had their homes demolished between 2009 and 2021, primarily on the grounds of not h...
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Using the model of promotion and tenure regulations prevalent in Palestine as an impetus, this article argues that these regulations perpetuate neo-coloniality by localizing and reproducing hegemonic center–periphery relations in academia. This is especially true when it comes to using scientometric criteria in the evaluation of knowledge produced...
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To address the gap in locally driven mental health capacity strengthening initiatives in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), researchers from Birzeit University (BZU) and King's College London (KCL) developed a unique short course focusing on the intersection between methods, mental health, and conflict. The course was delivered in the West B...
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Background The current moment is characterised by deep-rooted uncertainties, such as climate change and COVID-19. Uncertainty has been reported to be associated with negative mental health outcomes, such as stress and anxiety. However, no comprehensive review on the association between uncertainty and mental health exists. Aim The aim of the curre...
Article
This paper aims to broaden the discussion on the need to develop a context relevant research ethics system in the Arab World which can respond to the hopes and aspirations of Arab societies and their knowledge priorities. It defends the position that such a system should be locally and contextually nourished in order to avoid the burdens of colonia...
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Background Concerns exist that online learning directed at non-Western settings to strengthen research capacity imposes Western-centric epistemology, provides unidirectional transfer of knowledge, and neglects local paradigms and expertise. We argue that a plurality of voices, histories and epistemologies are essential to strengthen research capaci...
Article
Background: For parents, how to manage child discipline is a difficult question in the task of raising a socially, emotionally, and physically mature adult. Negative discipline can be physical or psychological, and can negatively affect child development, mental health, and wellbeing. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of negative disciplin...
Article
Background: Conflict impacts food security and decreases household dietary diversity. However, few studies have explored the routes by which prolonged conflict and social stressors affect food insecurity experience and food diversity. This study examines the influence of political, economic, and agricultural stressors on food insecurity and food d...
Article
Background: Deprivation is an important determinant of poor health. Locality can be key in understanding variation in deprivation across a population. This study aimed to analyse how different forms of deprivation affect mental health among Palestinians, and how they account for locality effects in the occupied Palestinian territory. Methods: We...
Article
In preparation for a survey using two international child abuse screening tools (ICAST‐P for parents and ICAST‐R for young people), a qualitative study explored the use of discipline and the understanding of child abuse, including sexual abuse, in Palestinian West Bank society, and investigated the appropriateness, in relation to clarity, acceptabi...
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Health literacy plays an important role in personal and community health. Since university is a turning point when young adults begin to take responsibility for their own health, understanding university students' health literacy levels is crucial. To this end, we aimed to explore health literacy and its associated factors among Palestinian univers...
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Background: The Covid-19 pandemic created major global health crises, with serious effects on all aspects of life. The pandemic reached the Israeli occupied West Bank of Palestine in early March 2020, and lockdown immediately ensued. Objectives: To assess the prevalence and predictors of distress and insecurity among Birzeit University's communi...
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Summary box Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territory has resulted in stunted development, weak and underfunded health and social services. The structural predicament in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has exacerbated political, economic and social instability during the COVID-19 outbreak. The current situation cannot be d...
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In an ecology of war, as experienced in the Middle East and North Africa region, health research faces several interrelated challenges: de-prioritization, paucity in the generation of reliable data, and its securitization. This directly contributes to local knowledge subjugation and research waste as local narratives are disqualified in favor of in...
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Background: Parental nurturing expressed through love and affection is a broad concept that entails caring for children and their activities, encouraging them and praising their achievements. Lack of love and affection makes children more susceptible to psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression across their life time. This stud...
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Environmental exposure to dust from quarrying activities could pose health dangers to the population living nearby. This study aimed to investigate the health effects of dust exposure on people living close to quarry sites and compared them with those who live far from the quarry sites. A cross-sectional comparative study was conducted among 79 exp...
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Background: Child maltreatment is a global epidemic. It affects morbidity, mortality, social behavior, wellbeing, and quality of life of children. This study aims to assess prevalence of child abuse in the West Bank (WB) of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and to determine some of its social and political associated factors. Methods: We...
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Objectives: Health literacy research in Palestine is limited, and a locally validated tool for use among adolescents has been unavailable until now. Therefore, this study aimed to adapt health literacy assessment scale for adolescents (HAS-A) into Arabic language (HAS-A-AR) and Palestinian context and to investigate its psychometric properties. De...
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Objectives Despite the rising risk factor exposure and non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality across the Middle East and the North African (MENA) region, public health policy responses have been slow and appear discordant with the social, economic and political circumstances in each country. Good health policy and outcomes are intimately linked t...
Article
This reflective piece offers an alternative perspective to understanding the components which support the Palestinian capacity to endure and resist 100 years of violation and injustice, in context. It traces the development of the author's understanding over time as part of the Palestinian community living under Israeli military rule in chronic war...
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Background: In the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), access to maternal and child healthcare (MCH) services are constrained due to the prolonged Israeli military occupation, the Separation Wall, army checkpoints, and restrictions on the movement of people and goods. This study assesses the relationship between conflict intensity and access to...
Article
Background: Very little is known about the experiences of children of political prisoners internationally, because of the challenges of researching within politically oppressive contexts. Objective: The aim of this secondary analysis was to explore and understand Palestinian children's experiences visiting their fathers in Israeli detention. Pa...
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Background Disability poses an important challenge to countries all over the world since it affects more than 15% of the global population. The disability prevalence is higher in developing countries compared to developed ones. Disability has negative consequences on health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The goal of this study is to assess the pr...
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Objective: Palestinians are exposed to chronic violence, which has a negative impact on health status. Health literacy is increasingly employed to increase people’s control over their health. This qualitative research explored adolescents’, parents’ and teachers’ views regarding important health-related issues to Palestinian adolescents, as a preli...
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The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides life-saving humanitarian aid for 5·4 million Palestine refugees now entering their eighth decade of statelessness and conflict. About a third of Palestine refugees still live in 58 recognised camps. UNRWA operates 702 schools and 144 health centres,...
Article
This paper explores child disciplinary methods used by parents in Qatar and Palestine. In this study ICAST-P, an internationally recognized tool, was used with mothers reporting on one of their children up to their 12th birthday. It questions about disciplinary methods: nonviolent; physical: moderate and severe; and psychological methods that had b...
Article
Interest in the well‐being of people exposed to long‐term violence and conflict has tended to focus on measurable effects of acute traumatic events, while attention to the pressures of their daily living context is relatively new. Using qualitative and quantitative data from a 2005 survey of all female family caretakers in 2 neighbouring Israeli‐oc...
Article
Background Armed conflicts can undermine a country's health-care capacity and disrupt the delivery of basic health services. Yet the public health consequences of war remain difficult to quantify, mainly because adequate data do not exist. We hypothesised that the ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory (including the restrictions on...
Article
Background Few studies exist of women's experiences and understanding of health in the transition from reproductive to post-reproductive age. Available data is from high-income settings, and most studies tend to focus on women of reproductive age. Little is known about women's perspectives in the Palestinian context. The aim of this study was to ad...
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This article traces the research trajectory of the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH) at Birzeit University, whose work focuses on life and health outcomes for Palestinians living in chronic warlike conditions under Israeli settler-colonial rule. Over decades of field-based work, ICPH researchers came to the realization that medicalize...
Article
Background: Interest in the Senian capability framework as an alternative approach to wellbeing measurement has increased in recent decades. The aim of this study was to look at the extent to which an individual's capability to achieve wellbeing in one dimension is associated with his or her attempt to achieve wellbeing in another dimension in a f...
Article
This qualitative study investigates how children of Palestinian political detainees in Israeli detention cope with their fathers' absences. Researchers conducted 16 semi-structured interviews with children, mostly aged 15 and older in the West Bank. Three themes are discussed that emerged from the interview data: how children cope with their sadnes...
Technical Report
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The MHPSS Directory provides up-to-date information about governmental and non-governmental organisations providing mental health and psychosocial support services in the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territory. It includes contact information, service location, types of services and activities, beneficiaries and MHPSS staffing. This MHPSS...
Technical Report
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The Arabic version of the MHPSS Directory provides up-to-date information about governmental and non-governmental organisations providing mental health and psychosocial support services in the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territory. It includes contact information, service location, types of services and activities, beneficiaries and MHPSS...
Article
Objectives: To estimate the long-term association between Israeli-imposed restrictions on travel for medical care in the occupied Palestinian territory and health status in adulthood. Methods: Using event history calendar methods, we collected annual data from 1987 to 2011 from a representative sample of 1778 Palestinians aged 32 to 43 years and...
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The links between two commonly used measures of health – self-rated health (SRH) and self-reported illness (SRI) – and socio-economic and contextual factors are poorly understood in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and more specifically among women in conflict areas. This study assesses the socioeconomic determinants of three self-reported m...
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The Reproductive Health Working Group (RHWG) was established in 1988 in Cairo to advance research in the Arab countries and Turkey on the health of women, broadly defined. The paper considers the ways in which the group contributed to global health conversations through three examples of interdisciplinary research that, in privileging local context...
Article
Background Although much research has been done into fertility and childbearing in the Palestinian context, research into the practice of child-raising is scarce. In preparation for a study on child discipline and abuse in the West Bank, we investigated the cultural appropriateness of two International Child Abuse screening tools: one for parents o...
Conference Paper
Background Disabilities are impairments or limitations that can vary between groups, localities, and family financial status. These restrictions could range from mental and intellectual to sensory and physical, and could be either congenital or acquired. In the occupied Palestinian territory, little attention is given to people with a disability, r...
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Background Since 1967, about 14 000 Palestinians have had their Jerusalem residency revoked, and thousands struggle to maintain Jerusalem residency. Although physically located outside the Separation Wall, the Kufr ‘Aqab neighbourhood is inside Israeli-defined greater Jerusalem, thereby providing legal basis for holders of Jerusalem identity cards...
Article
Background Wellbeing is influenced by several factors, including living conditions. In Palestine, area C communities are under administrative and security control and comprise about 60% of the West Bank. UN reports indicate that area C populations are considered most susceptible to expulsion (displacement from home and from land cultivated for live...
Article
Background Most studies of political conflict rely on imported measures of mental health. We identified and tested a local definition of suffering in the occupied Palestinian territory that we labelled “Feeling Broken or Destroyed”. Methods The construct was identified in group interviews completed in Arabic in 2010, with 68 residents as the total...
Article
Background Long-term effects of political imprisonment on functioning are unknown. This retrospective study explored the association between economic, political, psychological, physical, community, and family functioning and political imprisonment during a span of 25 years in a population-based sample of Palestinian men aged 32–43 years in the West...
Article
Background 215 casualties were evacuated to the West Bank and East Jerusalem for treatment during the conflict in Gaza in 2014. We aimed to describe injuries and infections in Gazan patients receiving treatment at two East Jerusalem hospitals. Methods 37 patients were included in a convenience sample using two inclusion criteria: transfer from Gaz...
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Since 1967, about 14 000 Palestinians have had their Jerusalem residency rights revoked by Israel, and thousands more struggle to maintain their permanent residency. As stipulated by the “centre of life” policy, Jerusalem residents must provide regular proof of residence within Israeli-defined municipal boundaries. In 2003, an amendment to the Isra...
Article
Background Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have had an important role in the Palestinian health sector before and after the creation of the Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMoH) in 1994. Few studies have addressed the role of NGOs in the Palestinian health sector. The aim of this study was to investigate the current role of local and internat...
Poster
Background From the 2011 Palestinian Center Bureau of Statistics, disability is defined as long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment that can hinder full and effective participation in society; disability among elderly people has become a major public health concern in recent years. More than 1 billion people live with disabil...
Article
Background Palestinian health-care services are directed towards prenatal care and childbirth, marginalising women of different ages, especially in the menopausal period. We aimed to investigate factors affecting Palestinian women's menopausal symptoms and psychosocial health. Methods We used purposeful or convenience sampling to identify eligible...
Article
Background Self-rated health (SRH) predicts mortality and social inequalities. Recently, life expectancy for women has increased as a part of the worldwide demographic transition. This study examines the determinants of self-rated health among older Palestinian women. Methods The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics did a survey in 2010 that i...
Article
Background Distress is a reaction in response to life changes that result in physical and emotional changes, including frustration, nervousness, or anger. We aimed to assess factors associated with distress levels among Palestinian university students. Methods We did a cross-sectional study measuring distress among students at the Birzeit and Beth...
Conference Paper
Background Available evidence suggests that women in the occupied Palestinian territory are served by an overburdened health system that prioritises family planning and reproductive services above provision for other health care that women may need. To address this gap, we investigated ill-health and disparities in the health of all women across th...
Conference Paper
Background Population health surveys play a vital part in enabling the planning, implementation, and monitoring of national health programmes and policies. However, the construction of these surveys is often determined by international stakeholders’ agendas and implementation is restricted by availability of local resources. We used the Palestinian...
Article
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There is limited evidence about women's experiences of the midlife, beyond a narrow – frequently biomedical – focus on the menopause. The broader (physical, social, cultural, political) dimensions of women's midlife health are poorly understood, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Our study seeks to understand how women in the West Ban...
Article
Little has been written on the challenges of conducting research in regions or countries with chronic conflict and strife. In this paper we share our experiences in conducting a population based study of chronic diseases in the occupied Palestinian territory and describe the challenges faced, some of which were unique to a conflict zone area, while...