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Q: Cost to save a childs life? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Cost to save a childs life?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: edwin-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 29 Jun 2002 10:49 PDT
Expires: 29 Jul 2002 10:49 PDT
Question ID: 34909
How much does it cost to save a child's life?

Request for Question Clarification by libronaut-ga on 29 Jun 2002 10:57 PDT
Hi Edwin,

Do you have a direct threat in mind?


Clarification of Question by edwin-ga on 29 Jun 2002 11:00 PDT
No, no...I didn't mean that. Just the general ones: starvation, diarrhea, etc.
Subject: Re: Cost to save a childs life?
Answered By: aziphirael-ga on 29 Jun 2002 11:45 PDT
Hi edwin-ga

Thanks for the question. I decided to start this search by looking at
various charities and what they said about the costs to save a child's

This article in the Guardian Newspaper for example suggests that it
will only cost 17p to save a child’s life from diarrhoea. This was in
response to the heavy flooding in Mozambique during the year 2000:
[,2763,191701,00.html ]

"Right now Unicef is chlorinating water, making it safe to drink. At a
cost of only 17p, it can provide the oral rehydration salts that will
save a child from fatal diarrhoea."

In the article it also says that for 25, 250 children can be made
safe against Malaria.

Another article at:
[ ]

Suggests that it is $10 per child for treatment against malaria:
"Some $250m annually would be sufficient to purchase vaccine for the
25m children born in Africa each year at $10 for a course of
treatment. Foreign aid to Africa now totals around $16bn per year, so
that at $10 per child the anti-malaria effort would amount to 1.5 per
cent of total aid."

Following this thread I had a look at the Unicef - United Nations
Childrens Fund - to see if I can find more information for you. There
was a wealth of information here which included the following
[ ]
[ ]

This gave the price per dose of different types of vaccines used to
treat a variety of disease including mumps ($1 - $2.4), measles
($0.079 - $1.25) and other childhood diseases.

I then moved on to see how much it costs to feed a child from
starvation. I did a search for the information and came up with a few
sources. I decided to look at the world food program website for the
information. This is available at the following site:
[ ]

Here one of the statistics they came up with was:
"$50 will provide a school meal for two children in Bolivia for 100

This amounts to 25 cents a meal for each child.

A further look at some charities also provided some more ideas of the
cost to save a child. At Cafod - Catholic Agency for Overseas
[ ]

"10 per month could help to feed two children in a school in war-torn
Sudan for a year. For many such children, the school dinner is their
only meal of the day."

I hope that I have provided enough material to help answer your
question. If you want further information or have clarifications then
I would be more than happy to answer them.

Best Wishes

Keywords used:
The cost to feed a child

Cost to save a child's life

World Food Program

Request for Answer Clarification by edwin-ga on 29 Jun 2002 12:27 PDT
Thanks for the info. It wasn't quite what I was looking for. (Sorry, I
tried to clarify it soon after but it got locked before I had a

I'm looking for a careful independent analysis from preferably
multiple sources, for the minimum amount of money that a person could
give (with no more effort than mailing a check or entering a VISA
number into a web site) so that on average 1 (though of course it
would have a chance of being more or less) young child who would die
before adulthood would reach adulthood. It doesn’t have to be exactly
specified like this but it should be similar.

It must be at an average time (not like the first site you gave which
was after a disaster.)
It must not be a bulk sum so that you would need to give a large
amount of money to save a large number of children and then divide it
out (like your second link).
It must not be done by the charity itself (like the other links). 
It must somehow account for overhead. 
It cannot be vague/short-term like the site.

Many of the sites posted were great sites and I’m not criticizing them
at all. But I’m looking for a more careful independent analysis.
Preferably, different sources that would provide estimates for exactly
the same criteria in terms of years saved and rules for factoring in
other costs.

Assuming this is done carefully, I would not expect the answers have a
*huge* range like the answers that were given.

Thank you

Clarification of Answer by aziphirael-ga on 30 Jun 2002 04:10 PDT
Hi edwin-ga

Thanks for the clarification of what you wanted out of the questions.
I'm not sure whether I would be suitably qualified to provide the
answers to your questions. But I spent half a day browsing across the
web looking at various sources, as well as looked at the various
geographical magazines I have in my library at home here; National
Geographic and Geographical.

The problem as pointed out sparky4ca-ga in his comment is that such
calculations are very hard to work out and depends a lot on the
context of which country as well as the age to which you want to help
this child. For example in the United States the costs of raising a
child born in 1999 will be $117,390 - $233,850 over a 17 year period
and dependant on social status.
[ ]

I am presuming from your post that basically it is enough money to
save a child from hunger and disease, based on a developing world
context. I’m also not sure whether you want to work out education
costs as well.

I have put down my findings below. However, I don't think this is what
you are looking for. My suggestion would be to reject the answer that
I have given and ask it again; hopefully somebody who perhaps knows
the right sources can give you a better answer. Certainly I apologise
for not providing you with the correct information in the first place.

I decided that the best place to start was to check out Unicef, which
is a good source for information regarding the state of the world's
children. I also searched on the web for papers or studies into the
economic costs of raising children in the third world. However, I
wasn’t able to find much apart from plenty of documents discussing
plans and actions for the future.

In the end I turned to searching the web for various key phrases such
as “The Cost of Raising a Child”.

I found the following mid-term paper:

The paper talks about the costs of vaccination programs and in one
section has the following statistic:

"One child can be fully immunized for $17 dollars.[5]  For each dollar
spent on immunizations society saves up to $29.[5]"

We can use the figure to get an idea of the medical costs. What now
need to be factored in are the costs to prevent starvation. This
proved trickier to find. The best I was able to do was to search for
studies which attempts to calculate the costs of raising children.

A Journal Paper I found which attempts to answer these questions also
details various methodologies to measure child costs. In particular
they used Rural Bangladesh as the case-study:
[ ]

The paper provides a variety of methodologies in which to factor in
raising children cost as defined below:

"The total cost of rearing children has two basic components: time
cost and monetary cost. Two methods are commonly used to evaluate
child costs. The first method is a direct cost-accounting procedure."

"The second method of measuring child costs is based on consumer
demand theory. The starting point under this approach is the
definition of a measure of welfare, or utility structure, for the
household.1/ Deaton and Muellbauer (1986), for example, estimate the
additional income needed to compensate a household for the loss of
consumption due to the addition of a child"

Another Paper that was highlighted by the journal was entitled:
"On measuring child costs: with applications to poor countries"

However, I was unable to get access to the journal paper as it
requires a subscription. I will put the details below in case you
decide to chase it up.

[ Deaton, A.S. and J. Muellbauer (1986). "On measuring child costs:
with applications to poor countries", Journal of Political Economy,
vol. 94, No. 4, pp. 720-744. ]

Finally I've highlighted with the following link an organisation
working in Africa helping destitute children which you may be able to
obtain the kind of information you need. This seems to allow you to
donate directly to a cause, in this case destitute babies and children
in Madagascar, without the money going through the coffers of a
[ ]

Again I'm sorry that I have been unable to find that information you
needed. I also feel that I'm not qualified to make a calculation of
the costs, there are many variables to take into account, and somebody
with better knowledge may be able to answer your question.

Thanks and regards,

Search Terms Used:
The Cost of Raising a Child

children the costs third world

calculating costs of children third world
Subject: Re: Cost to save a childs life?
From: thx1138-ga on 29 Jun 2002 11:49 PDT
You can actually stop a child from starving for FREE and without
leaving your home or office and there really is no catch. I would like
to suggest you visit this site:

You just have to click on a button, read an advertisement and for
reading the advertisement the sponsoring company will donate (usually
slightly more than) one cup of staple food to the “Mercy Corps or
America's Second Harvest for distribution in 74 countries, including
those in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America
and North America.”

(You don’t actually have to click on the sponsors but obviously if you
don’t then sponsors are not going to be so willing to participate in
the program, so DO click on the sponsors buttons)
If you own a website, consider putting one of their buttons on your
site and link it to the donation page (I have)

Subject: Re: Cost to save a childs life?
From: sparky4ca-ga on 30 Jun 2002 00:02 PDT
I think another important question here would be where, exactly, do
you want to save a child's life?
basically, you're talking about paying the difference between what the
child would cost to grow up if they didn't (zero) and the cost if they
so you need to factor in food, shelter, clothing, medicine, an
education, atc. etc. etc.
In a country like Canada or the US, that's going to be  lot more then
in 3rd world countries. Like, you don't usually get a school meal for
25 cents here. You might get 1 onion, or 1 potato at a grocery store,
but that's about it.

Also you need an age range, I'm thinking arounr 3 or 4 years old until
18 or 19 years old.

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