Volume 21, Number 4, Winter 2010


The Elephant in the Room: Collaboration and Competition among Relief Organizations during High-Profile Disasters


Italo Subbarao, Matthew K. Wynia, and Frederick M. Burkle, Jr.


The Journal of Clinical Ethics 21, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 328-334.


      The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that assume the bulk of emergency care during large-scale disasters in the developing world must expend considerable time and resources to ensure donations to sustain their field operations. This long-standing dilemma for the humanitarian community can create a competitive environment that:

     Compromises the delivery and quality of services,

     Allows the effectiveness of operations to be compromised by a lack of cooperation and collaboration,

     Disrupts the timely and accurate coordination and analysis of outcome measures that are crucial to successful response in the future, and

     Undermines the long-term capacity of indigenous aid organizations.

This article addresses problems and potential solutions for improved coordination and long-term capacity-building of humanitarian aid.


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