Metrics: What Counts in Global Health
The demand for quantifiably measurable data poses significant challenges for global health initiatives that are not centered on clinical activities or the distribution of tangible resources. Drawing from ethnographic research with Konbit Sante, an American medical aid organization intervening in Haiti, this chapter describes how the organization’s leaders struggle to reconcile their goals of capacity building and health systems strengthening with funders’ exigencies and demands for quantifiable results. While Konbit Sante’s leadership has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and accountability in their activities, the limited scope and rigid nature of the units used to measure contemporary global health interventions make it difficult to appraise the relational and context-specific dimensions of the organization’s partnerships with Haitian institutions. In particular, issues of temporality and data ownership lie at the heart of the frictions that emerge from efforts to reform transnational health projects in a context of increasing quantification.