Unlimit Health (formerly SCI Foundation)

Unlimit Health

Deworming Program

Unlimit Health (formerly known as SCI Foundation) works to end parasitic disease globally. To achieve this, Unlimit Health partners with both government ministries of health and affected communities to share evidence and expertise to end preventable parasitic infections and build resilient systems for good health.

What problem is Unlimit Health working on?

Unlimit Health focuses on the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including parasitic worm infections.

NTDs affect over one billion people in the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities. Parasitic worm infections can have a hugely detrimental effect on individuals, including:

  • Reduced productivity
  • Internal organ damage
  • Impaired child development
  • Reduced school attendance
  • Increased risk of HIV in women
  • Infertility

According to Unlimit Health, in 2020, only 44% of people needing treatment globally received it — meaning that more than 130 million people at risk from parasitic disease did not receive treatment.

What does Unlimit Health do?

Unlimit Health works to build resilient systems that sustain good health by sharing evidence and expertise to end preventable parasitic infections in affected communities. It works across multiple sectors in numerous countries to deliver effective and robust health programmes that have a lasting impact, including:

Its 2023–2028 strategy is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Unlimit Health reports that it delivered 63 million treatments to 52 million people in 2021–2022, and claims that just £1 can help deliver treatment for up to three people. In 2023–2024, it plans to support treatments for around 75 million people in 12 partner countries — in particular, focusing on broadening access to treatment to include groups not adequately covered by mass treatment campaigns, such as pre-school children and women of reproductive age.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of Unlimit Health?1.

We previously included Unlimit Health as one of our recommended charities based on the recommendation of the impact-focused evaluator Founders Pledge. Some other information relevant to Unlimit Health’s cost-effectiveness is:

  • Unlimit Health was one of GiveWell’s top-rated giving opportunities from 2011 to 2022 (under its previous name, SCI Foundation). GiveWell’s decision to no longer recommend it 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.) GiveWell has continued to fund Unlimit Health via its All Grants Fund.
  • Open Philanthropy has awarded several grants to Unlimit Health (under the name SCI Foundation), including over $3 million USD in 2021, 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 programmes to improved life outcomes — see GiveWell’s in-depth report on the case for mass deworming.

We’ve since updated our recommendations to reflect only organisations recommended by evaluators we’ve looked into as part of our 2023 evaluator investigations; while we expect to soon look into Founders Pledge as part of this more in-depth evaluator research, we haven’t yet. As such, we don't currently include Unlimit Health as one of our recommended programs but you can still donate to it via our donation platform.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.