Measuring Neglect

As a basis for prioritizing the allocation of financial and other resources targeted for international development, the strong preference of the global community’s policy makers and donors is to rely on numbers. Metrics such as DALYS (disability-adjusted life years—the number of healthy life years lost either from death or disability) or DALYs averted per dollar provide highly useful information about the cost-effectiveness of health interventions in different settings. In turn, the cost-effectiveness of a program is considered fundamental to its merit or its need for redesign. In this regard, one of the important achievements of this decade is the publication of the Second Edition of the Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. DCP-2 is a landmark document for informing fundamental policy considerations, selecting and scaling up effective interventions, and identifying opportunities for ongoing research.

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