EVIDENCE ACTION ACCELERATOR IS OUR ENGINE FOR NEW PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT.
The Accelerator selects, optimizes, and scales interventions that can measurably improve the lives of millions of people in the world’s poorest places. Through a rigorous process, interventions are evaluated so that only those with the greatest potential for cost-effective impact are scaled up.
Finding the Most Impactful Interventions
The Accelerator looks primarily for “ready-to-scale” interventions—those that have a strong evidence base endorsing the solution and that could be grown to reach significantly more people. To leverage the expertise and experience gained from our flagship programs, we prioritize solutions in the health sector and adjacent sectors including nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Our process is honed to consider only the most cost-effective interventions.
For example, if evaluating a child health solution, we would only consider those that have several studies showing significant improvements to the health of the child—like a decrease in mortality or disability— that can be delivered at a relatively low cost when compared to other solutions.
This unique focus has allowed us to identify solutions that could benefit millions of people and deliver an exceptionally high impact per dollar spent. Many of the interventions under consideration have been neglected or underfunded for decades, despite evidence they could save or improve more lives than virtually any other solution in their field.
The Selection Process
Each intervention evaluated by the Accelerator enters a six-stage process of program development. Starting from an evidence-based concept, each intervention has to pass criteria to move to the next stage until they progress to a fully-developed solution that can be replicated in multiple geographies.
Stage 1- Screening
We rapidly review the amount of high-quality evidence and level of consensus in the research that supports the impact and cost-effectiveness of the intervention.
Stage 2- Rapid Review
We conduct a review of the evidence to examine the intervention’s efficacy, the strength of the evidence behind it, how many people are affected by the problem it addresses, and estimate its cost-effectiveness.
Stage 3- Deep Dive
We develop an initial model of how the intervention could be optimally implemented, including where this intervention is needed and a detailed cost-effectiveness analysis of potential at-scale delivery.
Stage 4- Scope and Design
We perform in-country scoping to assess how the intervention can be operationalized in a specific context. We then prepare for launch by making final adjustments to the intervention’s design, as well as engaging necessary partners on the ground.
Stage 5- Launch
We launch the intervention in a country (or portion thereof), having structured the necessary partnerships – for example, with governments to support and leverage their existing infrastructure – and obtained sufficient funding to implement and test the solution.
Stage 6- Impact at scale
We evaluate implementation at scale to ensure the intervention achieves our expected cost-effective impact. We then continue to rigorously monitor its performance, iterating and adjusting the design for optimal delivery.
Approximately one million pregnant women around the world are infected with active syphilis, a disease that can cause severe problems for both mother and child. Each year, these infections result in a combined 200,000 stillbirths and neonatal deaths—more than the child mortality caused by HIV—as well as over 100,000 cases of disabilities in children, including blindness, neurological issues, and hearing loss.
Much of this suffering is treatable with a single inexpensive penicillin injection, which can prevent over 80% of the adverse outcomes to the child. We are working with the government of Liberia to nationally scale up dual HIV/syphilis rapid testing —which will leverage the country’s existing HIV infrastructure—to detect and treat the disease before it causes complications to the child. Today’s testing rate for maternal syphilis in Liberia stands at 6%; we aim to increase it to 80% within five years.
Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation
Iron deficiency anemia is a health condition that affects approximately 300 million children globally. In India, this problem is particularly severe: it is one of the leading causes of disability in the country, diminishing the health and cognitive abilities of the next generation of Indians. Iron deficiency anemia can be treated with weekly iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation, a very effective and cheap treatment.
In 2019, we began helping the Government of India to expand their existing program that delivers this supplementation to children and adolescents through schools. We are currently working in four states to test the cost-effectiveness and scalability of our support in improving delivery. In 2019, the program reached 13.3 million children and adolescents in these states; with our assistance, we are aiming for an additional 8.2 million children annually by 2022. We are also exploring expansion of our support to additional states in India, and other countries with high anemia rates.
Our Project Archive provides information about projects we have exited or terminated, including why we chose not to further pursue those interventions.