Global health & development
Global health
Improving public health, and finding new interventions to help the developing world


A small exercise to inspire empathy/gratitude for people who grew up with access to healthcare: If you'd lived 150 years ago, what might you have died of as a child? I got pneumonia when I was four and it probably would have killed me without modern medicine. 
I think we separate causes and interventions into "neartermist" and "longtermist" causes too much. Just as some members of the EA community have complained [] that AI safety is pigeonholed as a "long-term" risk when it's actually imminent within our lifetimes[1], I think we've been too quick to dismiss conventionally "neartermist" EA causes and interventions as not valuable from a longtermist perspective. This is the opposite failure mode of surprising and suspicious convergence [] - instead of assuming (or rationalizing) that the spaces of interventions that are promising from neartermist and longtermist perspectives overlap a lot, we tend to assume they don't overlap at all, because it's more surprising if the top longtermist causes are all different from the top neartermist ones. If the cost-effectiveness of different causes according to neartermism and longtermism are independent from one another (or at least somewhat positively correlated), I'd expect at least some causes to be valuable according to both ethical frameworks. I've noticed this in my own thinking, and I suspect that this is a common pattern among EA decision makers; for example, Open Phil's "Longtermism" and "Global Health and Wellbeing" grantmaking portfolios [] don't seem to overlap. Consider global health and poverty. These are usually considered "neartermist" causes, but we can also tell a just-so story about how global development interventions such as cash transfers might also be valuable from the perspective of longtermism: * People in extreme poverty who receive cash transfers often spend the money on investments as well as consumption. For example, a study by GiveDirectly
I’m here posting about Trans Rescue [] again because I think the price of life and safety in Uganda for LGBT+ people is about to get horrifyingly low. For the past several months, a proposed crackdown on gay Ugandans has caused sudden evictions and mob violence to a level that many LGBT+ Ugandans fled the country. Uganda’s president has just signed the new laws, criminalizing merely identifying as gay or renting a home to a gay person, and instituting the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. Trans Rescue anticipates an even greater wave of violence in the wake of this news. Trans Rescue’s past experience helping transgender Africans move to safety in neighboring Kenya has positioned them as the organization best able to help. They have local contacts and are used to working in the area, and they’re already practiced at differentiating between scammers and people who really need help. They were one of the first organizations to get involved in this situation, and I believe they are still the best positioned to help Ugandans evacuate. Trans Rescue has run almost completely out of funds. They don’t have the funds to do anything beyond keeping the current residents of their safe house fed and housed, and they’re receiving calls from LGBT+ Ugandans who’ve been attacked by their neighbors already and desperately need to leave, and in some cases already have a friend or family member they can stay with in a safer place, all they need is a $30 bus ticket. Any small donation Trans Rescue receives right now will go towards helping these people who just need one small thing to get to a safe place. I believe that Trans Rescue’s normal operations (which include assistance with housing and starting a business at a higher cost per person) are also cost effective. Right now, the worsening crisis and Trans Rescue’s current lack of funds make the cost to save
Hey, there's a new university around! EAs have long floated the idea of starting or buying a university, but a group of sustainability activists and experts has actually done so. It's privately funded, accredited in Germany, offers bachelor's, master's and MBA degrees. Teaching is online-only, I suppose for cost savings and global inclusivity. What do you think? []
As evidence increases for cognitive effects of poor air quality: [] There may be initial opportunities for extra impact by prioritizing monitoring and improving air quality in important decision-making buildings like government buildings, headquarters, etc
Someone pinged me a message on here asking about how to donate to tackle child sexual abuse. I'm copying my thoughts here. I haven't done a careful review on this, but here's a few quick comments: * Overall, I don't know of any charity which does interventions tackling child sexual abuse, and which I know to have a robust evidence-and-impact mindset. * Overall, I have the impression that people who have suffered from child sexual abuse (hereafter CSA) can suffer greatly, and tackling this is intractable. My confidence on this is medium -- I've spoken with enough people to be confident that it's true at least some of the time, but I'm not clear on the academic evidence. * This seems to point in the direction of prevention instead. * There are interventions which aim to support children to avoid being abused. I haven't seen the evidence on this (and suspect that high quality evidence doesn't exist). If I were to guess, I would guess that the best interventions probably do have some impact, but that impact is limited. * To expand on this: my intuition says that the less able the child is to protect themselves, the more damage the CSA does. I.e. we could probably help a confident 15-year old avoid being abused, however that child might get different -- and, I suspect, on average less bad -- consequences than a 5 year old; but helping the 5 year old might be very intractable.  * This suggests that work to support the abuser may be more effective.  * It's likely also more neglected, since donors are typically more attracted to helping a victim than a perpetrator. * For at least some paedophiles, although they have sexual urges toward children, they also have a strong desire to avoid acting on them, so operating cooperatively with them could be somewhat more tractable. * Unfortunately, I don't know of any org which does work in this area, and which has a strong evidence culture. Here are some ex
Hi everyone, I am Jia, co-founder of Shamiri Health, an affordable mental health start-up in Kenya. I am thinking of writing up something on the DALY cost-effectiveness of investing in our company. I am very new to the community, and I wonder if I can solicit some suggestions on what is a good framework to use to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of impact investment into Healthcare companies. I think there could be two ways to go about this: 1) take an investment amount, and using some cashflow modeling, we can figure out how many users we can reach with that investment and calculate based on the largest user base we can reach, with the investment amount; or 2) we can do a comparative analysis with another more mature company in a different country, and use its % of population reach as our "terminal impact reach". Then, use that terminal user base as the base of the calculation.  The first approach is no doubt more conservative, but the latter, in my opinion, is the true impact counterfactual. Without the investment, we will likely not be able to raise enough funding since our TAM is not particularly attractive for non-impact investors. The challenge to using the latter is the "likelihood of success" of us carrying out the plan to reach our terminal user base. How would you go about this "likelihood number"? I would think it varies case by case, and one should factor in the team, the business model, the user goal, and the market, which is closer to venture capital's model of evaluating companies. What is the average number for impact ventures to succeed?  TLDR:  1. What is the counterfactual of impact investing? The immediate DALY that could be averted or the terminal DALY that could be averted? 2. What is the average success rate of impact healthcare ventures to reach their impact goal?
PROJECT IDEA: 'COST TO SAVE A LIFE' INTERACTIVE CALCULATOR PROMOTION What about making and promoting a ‘how much does it cost to save a life’ quiz and calculator.  This could be adjustable/customizable (in my country, around the world, of an infant/child/adult, counting ‘value added life years’ etc.) … and trying to make it go viral (or at least bacterial) as in the ‘how rich am I’ [] calculator?  The case  1. People might really be interested in this… it’s super-compelling (a bit click-baity, maybe, but the payoff is not click bait)! 2. May make some news headlines too (it’s an “easy story” for media people, asks a question people can engage with, etc. … ’how much does it cost to save a life? find out after the break!) 3. if people do think it’s much cheaper than it is, as some studies suggest [], it would probably be good to change this conception… to help us build a reality-based impact-based evidence-based community and society of donors 4. similarly, it could get people thinking about ‘how to really measure impact’ --> consider EA-aligned evaluations more seriously While GiveWell has a page with a lot of tech details [], but it’s not compelling or interactive  in the way I suggest above, and I doubt  they market it heavily. GWWC probably doesn't have the design/engineering time for this (not to mention refining this for accuracy and communication).  But if someone else (UX design, research support, IT) could do the legwork I think they might be very happy to host it.  It could also mesh well with academic-linked research so I may have  some ‘Meta academic support ads’ funds that could work with this.   Tags/backlinks (~testing out this new feature)  @GiveWell []  @Giving What We Can [
Load more (8/13)