August 3, 2011

Trade-offs in Using Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Human Rights Data Analysis Group, Benetech, Palo Alto, California.

JAMA. 2011;306(5):547-548. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1032

Measurement of the clinical and public health consequences of violence during armed conflict is challenging. Unsettled populations, damaged infrastructure, and a lack of available sampling frames may render random sampling of the reference population difficult or impossible.1 Although difficult in such settings, valid scientific measurement can help guide the design of humanitarian assistance programs and strengthen human rights truth and accountability mechanisms.2 Without valid measurement, the empirical basis for health interventions and human rights initiatives may be erroneous, potentially leading to misallocation of resources, ineffective interventions, and delayed or denied justice for survivors of violations.