Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No bang for the buck

This news story gives a perfect example of why pouring money into a problem doesn't necessarily help.

Study finds UNICEF program in West Africa fails

...An analysis of the program in Benin, Ghana and Mali found children in areas where it wasn't in effect had a better chance of surviving past age 5 than children who were covered by it. The study was published online Tuesday in the British medical journal Lancet.

It is one of the few studies to evaluate whether U.N. health programs really save lives. Related work published last year found that it wasn't clear what the world had gotten from U.N. initiatives that cost nearly $200 billion over the past two decades, and that some programs may have been counterproductive.

....In Benin, child deaths fell by 13 percent after the UNICEF program started. But in areas of Benin where the program wasn't used, the death rate dropped by nearly double: 25 percent.

....Little effort has gone into finding out if global health initiatives work, yet billions of dollars are poured into them every year.

....UNICEF should have made the grant money dependent on delivering results. "It's hardly surprising the program was a complete flop."

It is interesting to note that areas that weren't "helped" by the UN health program did dramatically better than those that were.

This study reminds me of all the tax dollars poured into education that show no benefit. As long as the funding goes to programs that focus on the wrong thing, it doesn't matter how much money is spent. This should also be a cautionary tale for both education and health care reform.



Technorati tags: children

5 comments:

Luke said...

May we find the things that do work and invest heavily in them!

~Luke

Janine Cate said...

Here's a few charities that I can vouch for:

Hope Arising

Clean Water Fund

If you know of a successful, well-run program, please post the link.

Alasandra said...

Interesting!

The CoH is up. I am having issues with my server so am unable to email everyone letting them know. ~Alasandra

Karen said...

Wonderful point! It is astounding how little it costs to home educate well vs. what it costs to graduate a public school student who cannot even speak correct English or send a legible e-mail.

Janine Cate said...

>It is astounding how little it costs to home educate well vs. what it costs to graduate a public school student who cannot even speak correct English or send a legible e-mail.

Henry had a great post that showed that the real cost of public education is much higher than reported. The waste is staggering.