"Priority" Programs for International Aid: Proven Health Interventions - 2012 Version | GiveWell

# "Priority" Programs for International Aid: Proven Health Interventions - 2012 Version

Published: December 2010; Updated: 2012

We've identified multiple programs within the area of global health and nutrition that we consider highly promising because
• They appear to be well-supported by strong evidence.
• The evidence for their effectiveness appears to have relatively high external validity and thus generalizability: it is relatively clear which components of the program are important for effectiveness, and thus we expect a higher-than-usual chance of being able to meaningfully assess a charity's impact when it focuses on these programs.
• They appear to be potentially highly cost-effective.
Below we list the programs we have considered as potential priority programs. For each, we provide summary columns on the strength of evidence, conditions under which the program is effective, and cost-effectiveness. Note that
• All of the programs we have identified as priority programs are in the area of global health and nutrition. For more information on the evidence for other types of programs, see our overviews of developing-world education and economic empowerment.
• We previously listed cost-effectiveness figures drawn from the Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries report, but we have become less confident in these figures after finding major errors that raised general concerns. In the table below, "Potentially strong" cost-effectiveness means that this report gives a favorable estimate but that we have not constructed our own estimate. We have removed cost-effectiveness estimates from the summary table in order to de-emphasize the exact figures.
For more details, use the links provided to our writeups. For information on how we created this list of potential priority programs, see below. For an older version of this page, see 2009 report version.

## Programs we consider highly promising

Disease Program WriteupConditions under which program is effectiveEvidence of effectivenessCost-effectiveness
Malaria Distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs)1Click hereITNs consistently used by at-risk people (infants and pregnant women)Very strongStrong
Malaria Drug treatment including artemisinin combination therapy (ACT)Click hereAppropriate drug regimen adhered to by patientsVery strongPotentially strong
Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths Combination deworming program (mass drug administration) Click hereAppropriate drugs administered to at-risk populationsStrongStrong, though probably less so than ITN distribution
Surgery-correctable conditionsSurgeries (missions and support of local surgeons)Click hereSurgeries appropriately executedStrong$35-$1400 per surgery performed; impact of surgeries varies widely
MalnutritionVitamin supplementation/ fortification2Writeups forthcomingForthcomingForthcomingForthcoming

## Other programs we've investigated

Disease Program WriteupConditions under which program is effectiveEvidence of effectivenessCost-effectiveness
Diarrheal disease and pneumoniaNon-therapeutic zinc supplementationClick hereSupplements are consistently delivered and takenStrongLikely not as strong as deworming
HIV/AIDS Condom promotion and distribution Click hereCondoms used consistently by at-risk individualsStrongPotentially strong
Trachoma SAFE Strategy to control trachoma Click hereSurgeries appropriately executed; appropriate antibiotics administered to populationStrongSome components of strategy appear potentially cost-effective; others appear quite costly