July 25, 2014

ALL HUMAN HEALTH PROGRESS IS JUST NUTRITION, SANITATION, ANTIOBIOTICS AND VACCINES:

Smart Aid for the World's Poor : How can rich countries best help poor ones? Matt Ridley identifies five priorities (MATT RIDLEY, July 25, 2014, WSJ)

Most of the original Millennium Development Goals will have been met or nearly so by 2015. Since 2000, for example, the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger around the world will have been cut in half--an astonishing achievement. Other goals included universal primary education, gender equality, reductions in child mortality, improvements in maternal health, progress against HIV and malaria, environmental sustainability and (most vaguely) a "global partnership for development."

The lesson, surely, from this first round of setting development goals is the need to be even more ruthlessly selective next time. A list of eight goals is too long for most outsiders to remember. When I asked several of my colleagues in the British Parliament, they remembered only three to five. Several development experts I spoke to say that the new list should have just five discrete, quantitative, achievable goals. [...]

The Copenhagen Consensus Center process has won world-wide respect for its scrupulously fair methods and startling conclusions. Its 2012 report, published in book form as "How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place," came to the conclusion that the top five priorities should be nutritional supplements to combat malnutrition, expanded immunization for children, and redoubled efforts against malaria, intestinal worms and tuberculosis.

Their point wasn't that these are the world's biggest problems, but that these are the problems for which each dollar spent on aid generates the most benefit. Enabling a sick child to regain her health and contribute to the world economy is in the child's interest--and the world's.

The numbers produced by this exercise are eye-catching. Every dollar spent to alleviate malnutrition can do $59 of good; on malaria, $35; on HIV, $11. As for fashionable goals such as programs intended to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius in the foreseeable future: just 2 cents of benefit for each dollar spent.

Nor is this just about the cold tabulation of dollars and cents. The calculus used by the Copenhagen Consensus also includes such benefits as avoided deaths and sickness and potential environmental benefits, including forestalling climate change.
Posted by at July 25, 2014 7:55 PM
  
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