Introduction: Humanitarian crises continue to pose a significant threat to health; the United Nations estimates that 144 million people are directly affected by conflict or environmental disasters. During most humanitarian crises, surgical and rehabilitative interventions remain a priority.
Objectives: This review assessed the quality of evidence that informs injury and physical rehabilitation interventions in humanitarian crises.
Methods: Peer-reviewed and grey literature sources were assessed in a systematic manner. Selected papers were evaluated using quality criteria based on a modified version of the STROBE protocol.
Results: 46 papers met the inclusion criteria. 63 % of the papers referred to situations of armed conflict, of which the Yugoslav Wars were the most studied crisis context. 59 % of the studies were published since the year 2000. However, only two studies were considered of a high quality.
Conclusions: While there is now a greater emphasis on research in this sector, the volume of evidence remains inadequate given the growing number of humanitarian programmes worldwide. Further research is needed to ensure a greater breadth and depth of understanding of the most appropriate interventions in different settings.
Keywords: Conflict; Disasters; Global surgery; Humanitarianism; Injury; Rehabilitation.