Every week, the BBC Radio Four programme More or Less points out the use and misuse of statistics*. For TMPC it is compulsory listening. The More or Less presenters respond to questions about the statistics that are used by politicians, in the media, or in other published sources and point out how they have been used incorrectly, answered the wrong question, compared “apples with oranges”, or have mistaken association with causality. Recently, in an item about the “ice bucket challenge”, they asked what would be the most cost-effective way of giving money to charity – which charity gives the most “bang for the buck”. Now this is not necessarily how one might chose where to donate money but the answer was re-assuring to those of us working in global health.
The programme talked to Give Well, who describe themselves as “a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give.” Their top three recommended charities included two dedicated to neglected tropical diseases:-
- Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI): http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/schisto
- De-worm the World Initiative: http://evidenceaction.org/deworming/
If you want to find out more , visit the Give Well website: GIVEWELL
and if you want to hear more about how statistics can be used properly and improperly, check out the BBC website: MORE-OR-LESS
* More or Less is also broadcast on the BBC World Service.