The GiveWell Blog

The case against disaster relief

When a natural disaster and humanitarian crisis hits the headlines, many of us (including me) reach straight for our wallets. Emergencies have an easier time getting our attention (and emotional investment) than the chronic health problems that plague the developing world every day. But to hear the Disease Control Priorities report tell it, emergency aid… Read More

Cost-effectiveness is in the eye of the beholder

Broadly-speaking, we think of “cost-effectiveness” as referring to how much of value is accomplished for a given amount of money. If two interventions are both proven and scalable to similar degrees, the more cost-effective one is a better investment because it allows the same donation to accomplish more of value. However, “value” means different things… Read More

Donated technological equipment

Business Week writes: According to the World Health Organization, about half of the imaging equipment sent to developing countries goes unused because local technicians aren’t trained to operate it or lack the necessary spare parts. (H/t Aman at THDBlog) Is this possible? (Note: I tried to find the original WHO source and all I could… Read More

Selecting program-based health interventions

We are doing both region-based and program-based research on developing-world health. First I will discuss our program-based research, which will focus on (a) finding particular interventions (and/or clusters of interventions) that appeal to us; (b) finding organizations that implement these interventions “vertically,” i.e., replicating the same basic program across a variety of regions. For these… Read More

Region-based vs. program-based approaches to developing-world health

Deciding where to give involves making major judgment calls: decisions that rest on subjective and otherwise highly debatable claims (such as the decision of which sort of life change to aim for). We have no pretense of being able to make such judgment calls “objectively” or “perfectly. Rather, we try to: Be explicit about which… Read More

DALYs and disagreement

Elie thinks that fistula is worse than death. jsalvati disagrees. I’d rather bring someone to full health than save an infant’s life. Ryan agrees, but Basti does not and Ron Noble emphatically does not. It’s possible that we would all agree if we knew more about the lives of people in the developing world, or… Read More