Governing data in humanitarian health delivery

Humanitarian organisations are increasingly incentivised to collect and share data for various purposes, including efficient service provision, accountability and transparency. With this, there is a growing need to manage data collected during humanitarian operations.

Delivering health care in humanitarian emergencies or conflict contexts in particular requires many types of data, including numbers and narratives about patients, staff, disease, treatment and services.

In a new essay for Dædalus, NCHS Associate, Larissa Fast examines the issue of sharing data between and among humanitarians and donor governments. Fast pays particular attention “to governance and the often-overlooked relational dimension of data, their implications for trust, as well as the ethical questions that arise in light of existing debates about localisation and decolonising the humanitarian sector.”

Access the full essay “Governing data: Relationships, trust and ethics in leveraging data and technology in service of humanitarian health delivery here.

The essay draws on Fast’s earlier research, published in the NCHS paper “Data sharing between humanitarian organisations and donors: Toward understanding and articulating responsible practice.”

Fast’s contribution on humanitarian data sharing and governance is published as part of the Dædalus issue, “Delivering humanitarian health services in violent conflict” which seeks to understand the dilemmas facing humanitarian health actors and explore innovation in humanitarian health delivery.

Larissa Fast is Professor of Humanitarian and Conflict Studies in the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. She is a Global Fellow with the Peace Research Institute in Oslo and a Research Fellow with the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute. She is also the author of Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism (2014).

Dædalus is an open access publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.