Sightsavers — Deworming programme

Sightsavers — Deworming programme

Sightsavers works on a range of programmes to prevent blindness, advocate for disability rights, and fight neglected tropical diseases. It aims to control intestinal worms through mass drug administration programmes and local education programmes to improve access to clean water.

What problem is Sightsavers’ deworming programme working on?

According to Sightsavers, 1.5 billion people worldwide are infected with intestinal worms, and 600 million school-aged children live in at-risk areas.

Intestinal worms can cause a variety of health problems, including nutritional issues, problems with cognitive and physical development, and even death. Infections can also affect social and economic outcomes like employment and school attendance, and schistosomiasis can “lead to serious long-term problems affecting the digestive, urinary, respiratory and nervous systems.”

What does Sightsavers’ deworming programme do?

As part of its deworming programme, Sightsavers:

Sightsavers reports that in 2021, it treated more than 11 million people for intestinal worms, and trained more than 450,000 local volunteers to distribute medication through mass drug administration to treat a range of neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms.

What evidence is there of Sightsavers’ deworming programme’s effectiveness?

Sightsavers' deworming programme meets our criteria to be listed on our donation platform because it was previously one of our recommended charities due to GiveWell’s inclusion of it as a top-rated giving opportunity from 2016 to 2022. GiveWell’s decision to no longer recommend SCI Foundation was not based on any shift in thinking about the programme, but rather a change in its top charity criteria. (See more about GiveWell’s decision and how that decision affects our recommended charities.)

Open Philanthropy has also awarded several grants to Sightsavers’ deworming programme, including over $4 million USD in October 2021 and $9 million USD in 2019, which is an indicator of its cost-effectiveness.

Some research shows that deworming has positive effects on improved life outcomes like school attendance and income earnings. There is also some uncertainty surrounding findings that link deworming programs to improved life outcomes — see GiveWell’s in-depth report on the case for mass deworming.

We intend to reevaluate the status of all of the charities listed on our platform that are working on deworming programmes after one of our trusted evaluators, Founders Pledge, publishes its review of deworming’s cost-effectiveness. (Our trusted evaluators are charitable giving experts who focus on impact — their research into the best charities means your donations can do even more good. Learn more about charity evaluators we trust and why.)

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation’s work, which considers much more than just the administration costs of the organisation. Learn more about this common “overhead myth” and our approach to charity evaluation.

Why donate through the Giving What We Can donation platform?

Your donations through our portal are tax deductible in the UK, US, and the Netherlands. Giving What We Can does not take any fees from donors using our platform or from charities listed on our platform. We are independently funded to promote our mission of making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm. Read more on our transparency page.

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