4 Responses

  1. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke December 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks Don for raising this important issue again – I would have responded even if you had been more polite.

    The points World Vision made were that:

    1. If we can help people to survive and live healthy lives this should be given priority in our assistance to people in poorer countries.

    2. The strategies required to provide effective health aid are well understood and aid for health has the strongest evidence base of all aid interventions. There is much less known about how to reliably boost economic growth through aid – there is potential to waste a lot of aid with unproven economic development schemes.

    3. Health aid has had a huge impact – helping to halve child deaths since 1990, cut new HIV, TB and malaria infections and deaths etc.

    4. Many people are still not receiving adequate health care (eg the 35% of mothers without access to a trained birth attendant, 9 million eligible people still not receiving AIDS treatment, the three million people not receiving TB treatment each year, children not receiving rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines etc) – but most could if more dollars were available.

    5. The average cost to save a life reported by both GAVI (http://bit.ly/1hUABlI) and the Global Fund (http://bit.ly/1fvnbJE) is around US$2000. Last month The Lancet published the findings of a detailed investment framework for maternal and child health. The authors found that deaths could be averted at an average cost of US$2240 in 35 low income countries (see Appendix of http://bit.ly/18tb7sJ). It should not be surprising that many opportunities exist to prevent deaths at low cost – many of the major causes of death in developing countries such as malaria, TB, diarrhoea, pneumonia and many birth complications can be effectively prevented or treated for tens of dollars.

    I think that this is a very important debate and I would be very interested to hear from you and others about which parts of this argument you disagree with.

  2. Terence Wood
    Terence Wood December 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Two points are worth noting with regards to the comments on overheads.

    1. Delivering aid well is hard and success requires staff. The best overheads ratio isn’t the lowest but rather the ratio the allows time for staff to learn context, engage with evidence and make informed decisions, while not being wasteful. There’s no reason to think the current ratio errs on the wasteful side of the line.

    2. OCED data on overheads (unless they have changed since I last looked into this) are based on self-reporting and different countries call different things overheads. Something that renders international comparisons largely meaningless.

  3. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke December 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I wonder what the millions of people who still can’t get AIDS or TB treatment because of a shortage of funding think about the quality of the discussions about aid in our Parliament?

    1. Don D'Cruz
      Don D'Cruz December 14, 2013 at 2:31 am

      Garth, your contributions to the aid debate have not been great. Were you the ‘genius’ at WVA who got Costello to run around using the $2000 per life figure???????

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