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Requirements for Independent Community-Based Quality Assessment and Accountability Practices in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Activities

  • Thomas D. Kirsch (a1) (a2), Paul Perrin (a1), Frederick M. Burkle (a3), William Canny (a4), Susan Purdin (a5), William Lin (a6) and Lauren Sauer (a2)...


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.

Kirsch TD, Perrin P, Burkle FM Jr, Canny W, Purdin S, Lin W, Sauer L. Requirements for independent community-based quality assessment and accountability practices in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-6.


Corresponding author

Corresponding Author: Thomas D. Kirsch, MD, MPH 5801 Smith Avenue Davis Bldg., Suite 3220 Baltimore, MD 21209 USA E-mail


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