Update: Charity Science is excited to announce that it now supports a second malaria prevention charity. Read more about it here!It needs little introduction. It’s a mosquito borne disease that is one of the leading killers of children in poor countries, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths a year. Malaria parasites cause vomiting, headaches and fever. If left untreated it can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition. Yet it can be prevented very cheaply, with bednets that cost about $6 USD in total to distribute when you donate to our recommended charity, the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), or with Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) when you support specific programs carried out by the Malaria Consortium. Please see GiveWell's detailed report for more information about SMC.
Why bednet distribution is so effective
Unfortunately the parasites have developed resistance to many antimalarial drugs, so prevention is doubly important. That's where bednets come in. Because most mosquito bites happen at night, hanging an insecticide-treated net around your bed can keep you safe. This is vital for children, they die the most often and theirs are the lives that you’ll likely be saving if you give to AMF.
Bednet distribution is one of the most cost-effective things you can fund. The scientific evidence for this is unparalleled: multiple studies all show the same thing, and backing from the widely-respected Cochrane review, which evaluates all the scientific evidence available for medical interventions. GiveWell, the most rigorous and sceptical charity evaluator out there, says that if you give to AMF you can be confident that you’re saving lives.
We highly recommend the AMF. We’ve worked closely with them, and they’re an exceptional charity in every respect. Not all bednet charities are created equal, and AMF outperforms the rest on every count. They can distribute nets cheaper than any other charity and they distribute long-lasting nets which don’t need retreating with insecticide. They are extremely transparent and monitor their own impact carefully, requiring photo verification from each net distribution.
For all these reasons they’ve been singled out by leading charity evaluator GiveWell. For more information, you can read GiveWell’s detailed reviews of AMF and of bednet distribution in general, or visit AMF’s website.