The GiveWell Blog


Coming across the current feature on the DCPP’s home page reminds me of how much I care about the issue of obstetric fistula. The following are highlights from the article linked above (emphasis mine): For countless women in developing countries, going into labor is the painful beginning of a lifetime of unremitting shame and misery… Read More

Health education is tricky

In theory, you can fight HIV/AIDS by teaching safe sexual behavior; fight diarrhea by promoting hygienic practices; reduce child mortality by educating mothers; etc. However: Research on the effectiveness of these sorts of programs is thin; and programs that combine documented effectiveness with clear replication models are, so far as we can tell, rare to… Read More

Direct food aid?

Both the Disease Control Priorities report (DCP) and Copenhagen Consensus (CC) acknowledge malnutrition as an extremely widespread and damaging problem, and both discuss a variety of interventions including breastfeeding promotion, vitamin supplementation, and fortification. Yet both give hardly any space to the idea of direct food aid, i.e., providing healthy food (or the money necessary… Read More


According to the Disease Control Priorities Project, expanding vaccination is an excellent fit for donors who want proven, cost-effective, scalable ways of helping people. According to this table (more detailed version on page 401 of the full report), both South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have relatively low levels of existing coverage (50-58%), and vaccinating more… Read More

Where does a donor fit in?

I get two very different pictures of how aid funding works, depending on whether I’m looking at my options as a donor (as I’ve been doing for the last couple of years) or reading papers intended for policy makers (Disease Control Priorities report, Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health). The latter sources focus… Read More