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Organizations Attempting to Innovate on Health Care Delivery

A note on this page's publication date

The content that appears below was created several years ago. This content is likely to be no longer fully accurate, both with respect to the research it presents and with respect to what it implies about our views and positions.

About this page

GiveWell aims to find the best giving opportunities we can and recommend them to donors. We tend to put a lot of investigation into the organizations we find most promising, and de-prioritize others based on limited information. When we decide not to prioritize an organization, we try to create a brief writeup of our thoughts on that charity because we want to be as transparent as possible about our reasoning.

The following write-up should be viewed in this context: it explains why we determined that (for the time being), we won't be prioritizing the organizations in question as potential top charities. This write-up should not be taken as a "negative rating" of the charities. Rather, it is our attempt to be as clear as possible about the process by which we came to our top recommendations.

Published: October 2012

Background

We have considered organizations that attempt to develop innovative approaches to improving developing-world countries' heath systems, often by focusing on health logistics. These organizations focus on improving the delivery of health supplies such as vaccines or medicines for malaria treatment, so if these organizations succeed they may be cost-effectively saving and/or improving lives.

Organizations in this category include VillageReach, which was our #1-ranked charity for over two years and received significant funding as a direct result of our recommendation, as well as LivingGoods (http://www.livinggoods.org), mothers2mothers (http://www.m2m.org), and Riders for Health (http://www.riders.org/).

When analyzing an organization of this type, we look for the following:

  1. Can the organization provide comprehensive or representative, quantitative monitoring of its activities that suggest its programs have caused the type of improvement in health systems it seeks to create (i.e., increased use of malaria treatment, reduced stockouts of supplies, increased vaccination rates)?
  2. If it shares the above, can the organization provide compelling analysis of the counterfactual? That is, does the organization evaluate external factors that may have led to the observed results in question 1?
  3. Can the organization provide scenario analyses that detail how it would use additional funds?

We have written extensively about VillageReach's answers to these questions. For more, see our full VillageReach review.

The other organizations we considered did not, in our view, provide sufficiently compelling answers to the questions above.

Related materials


Living Goods

mothers2mothers

Riders for Health: Files sent in mid-2011

Riders for Health provided us with the following documents: