Millions Saved: What Works in Global Health? – Podcast with Amanda Glassman

April 04, 2016

A mass vaccination campaign across Africa virtually wipes out Meningitis A in participating countries. A new helmet law in Vietnam prevents thousands of accidents and deaths. A cash transfer program for caregivers of orphans in Kenya leads to higher school attendance and lower teen pregnancy rates. What do all these have in common?

They’re all large-scale programs to improve public health that were hugely successful. And now, they’re all case studies in CGD’s newest edition of Millions Saved, a collection of success stories in global health. The book rigorously evaluates 22 programs from Haiti to Botswana, Peru to Pakistan, in order to understand what works in global health and why.

As Bill Gates says in his foreword to the book, “the more information we can gather and share, the better decisions we can make and the more impact we can have.”  

Millions Saved was coauthored by CGD’s Vice President for Programs and Director of Global Health Policy Amanda Glassman, who joins me on this week’s podcast to share some of the book’s cases and takeaways. Among the takeaways: successful international coordination is key, and delivery matters.


“There is still a job to be done. There is still a lot of preventable death and disability,” Glassman tells me. “But that said, we looked at these at-scale programs that really made a difference for people’s health.”

How much of a difference?

“We calculate just a few of the cases in our book that we feature saved about 18 million years of life, that otherwise would have been lost due to preventable causes,” Glassman says.

Millions Saved is available for pre-order and will be released on April 26th. In the meantime, visit the Millions Saved website for a sneak peek at the cases discussed.


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.