Friday, July 24, 2009

Prevent One Disease or Prevent Many: Decisions, Decisions.

Photo: The famously smelly Nairobi River

Here are two choices: one, giving people access to clean water and sanitation in order to reduce the incidence of all water and sanitation related health problems, which are numerous; two, providing people with a low cost vaccine against one water and sanitation related disease, namely cholera.

Which one sounds preferable? After all, the first choice includes the second. Why just grant people the second when granting them the first makes the second superfluous?

Well, if you're the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, you may want to spend $60 million on such a cholera vaccine. I wonder if the vaccine will be a pill, a drink or an injection. At least if it's an injection the recipient can put off their next drink of water, which may make them sick.

Photo: Water Delivery in a relative well off Nairobi suburb (Fedha Estate). Sphere: Related Content

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