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The second edition of the Disease Control Priorities Project was launched earlier this week. Though full of important cost-effectiveness studies of major developing country diseases, the 1400-page tome is not quite what you’d expect to find in the hands of a busy policymaker or priority-setter.

For those short on time and attention span, I suggest reading this brief about priorities for investing in health. “Best Health Buys” include well known interventions such as vaccinating children against major diseases as well as some surprising new ones such as taxing tobacco products and installing speed bumps at dangerous intersections. These tables (2.B.1 and 2.B.2) will tell you how much a health intervention costs per number of lives saved. Did you know that distributing insecticide-treated bednets is a more cost-effective way to prevent malaria than spraying households with insecticide? And even more useful, Table 2.2 "identifies interventions relevant to South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that have been evaluated in [DCP2] and have the greatest potential to reduce the burden of disease in those regions at an affordable price."

The Lancet has also published a useful overview of the key messages from the DCPP (subscription required).

Setting priorities for health spending is particularly important in the developing world where resources are scarce and diseases are not. If used, the DCP2 products have the potential to make health spending more effective.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.