Health

Questioning the evidence on hookworm eradication in the American South

Questioning the evidence on hookworm eradication in the American South

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Summary

Four of GiveWell’s top charities support deworming—the mass distribution of medicines to children in poor countries to rid their bodies of schistosomiasis, hookworm, and parasites.

GiveWell’s recommendation relies primarily on research from western Kenya finding that deworming in childhood boosted income in adulthood. GiveWell has also placed weight on a study by Hoyt Bleakley of the hookworm eradication effort in the American South 100 years ago.

I reviewed the Bleakley study and reach a different conclusion than he did: the deworming campaign in the American South did not coincide with breaks in long-term trends that would invite eradication as the explanation . GiveWell research staff took the conclusions of this post into account when updating their recommendations for the 2017 giving season . GiveWell continues to recommend deworming charities. I also reviewed a separate Bleakley study of the impacts of malaria eradication in the United States, Brazil, Colombia, […]

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