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Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Maternal mortality, and Standard of living in the developing world

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  • Natalie Stone
    I am the newest member of the GiveWell team. Since I started at the beginning of July, I have been working on expanding the background information that
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26, 2009
      I am the newest member of the GiveWell team. Since I started at the beginning of July, I have been working on expanding the background information that GiveWell offers within its most recent report on international aid. We always welcome feedback on our work, and I would especially appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to look at what I've been working on and send me your thoughts.

      The reports below aren't public yet. If you'd like to read them, email us at info@... and we'll send you login information.

      Here's a quick summary of what I've found with links to more information:

      Program: Antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

      In Africa, it is estimated that without antiretroviral therapy (ART) 25-35% of HIV positive mothers pass the virus to their infants. Clinical trails have shown that a single dose of antiretroviral drugs given to each mother (during labor) and newborn (immediately after birth) is a cost-effective way to lower transmission rates.

      Unlike ART to treat HIV/AIDS, ART to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a much shorter regimen and therefore, significantly more cost-effective. We would be excited to find a charity primarily implementing this program but haven't yet found any. 

      See the full report at http://www.givewell.net/node/452.

      Cause: Reducing maternal mortality in developing countries
      The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2005 over 500,000 women died from pregnancy- and birth-related causes. We reviewed recent literature reviews of interventions to reduce maternal mortality including training traditional birth attendants, providing skilled birth attendants, expanding antenatal care, community mobilibization, and distribution of clean delivery kits, but we have not identified an intervention whose effectiveness at reducing maternal mortality is strongly supported by the available evidence. Success stories rely on broad, systemic improvements to the provision of health care.

      See the full report at http://givewell.net/node/454.

      Overview: Standard of living in the developing world

      Donors often ask us, "I understand that saving a life in Africa is far cheaper than educating a child in the U.S., but if you save someone's life in Africa, what type of life does he/she lead? If you save someone from malaria, does he or she just die from tuberculosis? Does this person have the opportunity to live a happy life or are they significantly harmed by all the problems in Africa?" We started to answer some of this with this page on life expectancies in Sub-Saharan Africa (http://givewell.net/node/98) and this page goes into the issue further.
      It shows that income and self-reported life satisfaction are fairly strongly correlated, incomes are low and erratic for a large proportion of the population, and mortality is high under 5 and over 60 but considerably less so in between.

      See the full report at http://givewell.net/node/458.

      I look forward to hearing what you think.

      Natalie Stone
      Research Analyst

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