10 November 2012

Against Malaria Foundation

As part of my personal evidence-based living regime (ahem) I'm planning a £1,000 donation to the Against Malaria Foundation. It's at least partly selfish - one of the few ways that spending money can actually bring you happiness is by spending it on other people (can you tell how smug I feel writing this?). There has also been a lot of analysis into the effectiveness of buying bednets. Givewell estimate that the marginal cost of a net is $5.15, and that by buying enough of them, you can probably save a child's life for about $1,600 (or £1,000). I had been hesitating over a recent story about behavioural adaptation by mosquitoes to nets, but responses from Givewell and AMF have basically reassured me. Unless anyone has any other good objections?

Givewell:
our positive view on LLINs remains in place. There is strong evidence that LLINs reduce malaria and save lives and only preliminary/suggestive/mixed evidence that insecticide resistance may reduce their impact. In addition, it appears to us that the malaria control community has been devoting at least some attention and investigation to this issue for a long time, has developed a reasonable knowledge base (if one that has plenty of room to grow), and still recommends the use of LLINs regardless of the resistance situation. 
Indeed, the fact that we’re discussing this issue at all speaks to the extraordinarily and unusually strong evidence base (and supply of data) behind ITN distribution. For most aid interventions that donors can fund, the set of “things that could go wrong” is large and broad, and we have little evidence to address most of them, but when looking at LLIN distribution, the salient concerns are few and specific enough that the malaria control community is able to put substantial resources into specifically investigating them.
 And AMF:
Currently both issues – resistance to pyrethroids and changed time of biting - are not widespread. Currently LLINs remain highly effective in reducing the incidence of malaria.
 And why not, here's the Donation Page

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