Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Micro-Nutrients as Global Priority / Investing in Health

The world’s best investment: Vitamins for undernourished children,
according to top economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates
Over two years, more than 50 economists have worked to find the best solutions to ten of the world’s biggest challenges. During the last week of May, an expert panel of 8 top-economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, sat down to assess the research. The result is a ranked list highlighting the potential of 30 specific solutions to combat some of the biggest challenges facing the world.

Combating malnutrition in the 140 million children who are undernourished reached the number one spot, after economist Sue Horton of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada made her case to the expert panel. Providing micronutrients for 80% of the 140 million children who lack essential vitamins in the form of vitamin A capsules and a course of zinc supplements would cost just $60 million per year, according to the analysis. More importantly, this action holds yearly benefits of more than $1 billion. In effect, this means that each dollar spent on this program creates benefits (in the form of better health, fewer deaths, increased future earnings, etc.) worth more than 17 dollars.

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