For several years, we’ve partnered with the Government of India to deliver mass school-based deworming as part of our Deworm the World Initiative. The ongoing success of this partnership has allowed us to explore opportunities to extend our impact in India. Ultimately, we settled on one promising area for further exploration through our Beta incubator: India’s national Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) program, which is designed to address the pressing challenge of anemia among school-age children.
The Government of Pakistan has initiated the “Deworm Islamabad Initiative,” targeting 570,000 children aged 5-15 in Islamabad who are at risk of infection with intestinal worms. Trained school teachers administered free-of-cost deworming medicine (mebendazole), which is universally recognized as a safe and cost-effective treatment.
There is a difference between a low-cost program and a cost-effective program. Implementing a low-cost program is not sufficient - we want to ensure that the impacts of the program are measurable and that the benefits outweigh the costs - this is what makes a program truly cost-effective. Putting these two parts of the equation - costs and benefits - together, we can estimate the value for money of our program.
Evidence Action is excited to announce that GiveWell has recognized our two flagship programs this year: Deworm the World Initiative (top charity) and Dispensers for Safe Water (standout charity).
India’s National Deworming Day (NDD), initiated in 2015, is the world’s largest single-day public health intervention, providing children between the ages of 1-19 with free deworming tablets. As part of Evidence Action’s technical assistance to the Government of India and select state governments for the August NDD treatment round, we are collaborating on several tailored strategies to target hard-to-reach children, including migrant workers in the north-eastern state of Tripura.
At Evidence Action, we determine impact based on data, and in partnership with governments, we reached over 280 million children in 2017 alone through our Deworm the World Initiative. Our focus on scale means we rarely have the opportunity to zoom in on an individual’s experience. So in February, we jumped at the chance to visit these two girls, who we first met on a deworming day in Kenya back in 2013.
2017 Deworm the World Initiatives Milestones: What We've Achieved This Year
Parasitic worm infections disproportionately affect people living in poverty, especially those who are difficult to reach with mass drug administration. Evidence Action is committed to supporting innovations that enable treatment for all children at risk of worm infections regardless of their circumstances.Here’s a look at some targeted strategies implemented in Kenya to improve coverage of hard-to-reach children over the past year.
Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative is proud to provide technical assistance to Thrive Networks and the Government of Vietnam as the government takes action towards keeping children healthy and in school by strengthening and improving school-based deworming. On November 6 and 7, over 700,000 primary school children across 3,000 schools in four provinces in northern Vietnam were targeted to receive a deworming tablet in their classroom. This is the third round of school-based deworming that Thrive Networks and Evidence Action have supported the Government of Vietnam to implement.
Evidence Action has been working with the Government of India to prepare for the second round of National Deworming Day (NDD) for 2017, aimed at treating children in areas with high prevalence rates of parasitic worms. The Government of India conducted NDD on August 10. Three-hundred and ten million children across 34 states and UTs were targeted to receive a single deworming tablet from their teachers across schools and anganwadis in India.
To comprehensively determine the burden, intensity, and geographical distribution of STH in Pakistan and to inform an appropriate treatment strategy, Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative collaborated with Interactive Research and Development (IRD), the Indus Hospital, and the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) to conduct the first nationwide STH survey in Pakistan in late 2016.
We are very proud and grateful for the recent grant of $10.8 million to our Deworm the World Initiative from Good Ventures.
Good Ventures supported GiveWell’s “top charities” for the 2015 giving season, and we are honored to be part of this exemplary group of organizations.
Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative calculates what it costs to deworm a child in the countries that we work in. You might have seen the ‘cost per child per year’ to treat for parasitic worms cited in our materials and that of others.
So how do we calculate that cost? In the spirit of transparency (and in hopes of clearing up any misconceptions about how we determine our supported deworming programs’ cost per child), let’s talk costing! Here is how we calculate the cost per child/per year for deworming.
How much evidence is enough before we know that a global development intervention works for people? How much evidence is enough to know that a program is worth scaling to millions of people because it works and benefits lives across multiple settings and contexts?
These are great questions that Michael Hobbes raises in an article in the most recent issue of The New Republic. In fact, we at Evidence Action think a lot about this. Our mission is to scale programs that have been proven to work so they benefit millions of people.
Unfortunately, Mr. Hobbes used a poor example to raise these questions by focusing on deworming. In the case of mass deworming of children and our Deworm the World Initiative, the policy has followed the (rigorous) evidence. Deworming has a well-proven, clear causal chain from intervention to effect.
Last week, the community of global stakeholders combatting the scourge of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH), the major category of intestinal worms that we focus on, came together to discuss groundbreaking investments and chart a path forward in the fight against STH. In a series of events hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, the community agreed to work collaboratively toward the collective goal of scaling treatment of STH globally.