What are the most cost-effective life-saving interventions?

18 April, 2019

Dear HIFA and CHIFA colleagues,

On the HIFA website we say: 'Every day thousands of children and adults die needlessly because they do not receive basic life-saving interventions - interventions that are often locally available but are simply not provided due to indecision, delays, misdiagnosis, and incorrect treatment. Many would still be alive today if those responsible for their care had access to basic healthcare information.'

We (HIFA) have a complementary table at a local event here in Charlbury in June 2019 and I would like to ask your help. We are trying to think of an engaging educational activity that would appeal to older children as well as adults. One thought is to have a 'top 10' of cost-effective life-saving interventions and to invite people to try and match these against common life-threatening conditions. Inviting people to estimate the cost of each intervention could be included.

So, for example, we could include a sachet of ORS (for acute childhood diarrhoea) and/or oral amoxicillin (for childhood pneumonia).

We could perhaps include interventions that require only knowledge (such as the Heimlich manoeuvre for choking).

We might also include one or more preventive interventions (such as immunisation).

I did a quick Google search on '10 most cost-effective life-saving interventions' and found a 1995 paper 'Five-hundred life-saving interventions and their cost-effectiveness'. However, the abstract does not tell us much and the full text is restricted access.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org