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Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012 Jun;27(3):280-5. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X12000842. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Requirements for independent community-based quality assessment and accountability practices in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities.

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  • 1Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. tkirsch1@jhmi.edu

Abstract

During responses to disasters, the credibility of humanitarian agencies can be threatened by perceptions of poor quality of the responses. Many initiatives have been introduced over the last two decades to help address these issues and enhance the overall quality of humanitarian response, often with limited success. There remain important gaps and deficiencies in quality assurance efforts, including potential conflicts of interest. While many definitions for quality exist, a common component is that meeting the needs of the "beneficiary" or "client" is the ultimate determinant of quality. This paper examines the current status of assessment and accountability practices in the humanitarian response community, identifies gaps, and recommends timely, concise, and population-based assessments to elicit the perspective of quality performance and accountability to the affected populations. Direct and independent surveys of the disaster-affected population will help to redirect ongoing aid efforts, and generate more effective and comparable methods for assessing the quality of humanitarian practices and assistance activities.

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