The Cost of Inaction
The Consequences of Failing the World's Children

Summary

This Forum event explored the landmark “Cost of Inaction” initiative launched by the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights. The project examines the “cost of inaction” of a failure to respond appropriately to children — addressing the complex challenges of enumerating and quantifying the multiple social and economic costs that follow when societies fail to address the pressing needs of their most vulnerable members. The project responds to hitherto unaddressed questions in public health: what are the costs of inaction, and is the cost of inaction greater than the cost of action.

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Presented in Collaboration with GlobalPost

Background Articles

Image Credit: 2004 Amber Beckham, Courtesy of Photoshare

  • Alicia Martinez

    How do I officially register to listen/watch live tomorrow?

    In advance, thank you.
    Alicia

    • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

      Hi, Any member of the public can watch the webcast. No need to login or register. Thanks for you interest. Just hit play.

  • Maynard Clark

    Who is going to pay for all this, how much of this financial burden is expected of each person, and on what basis is the proportion to be allocation, and why will they be willing to agree to this political or other obligation when they didn’t produce the children whose needs are not being met by the society and natural parents and natural families that brought them into existence?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION EMAILED TO THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    Your studies show why prevention and especially early intervention are so important not only to saving the lives of poor children, but to the quality of their future. Interceding earlier for children clearly affects the course of their entire lives. Why is so much funding directed towards emergency relief work, then, when it clearly costs more in the long run and does nothing to change the underlying conditions of children’s lives?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION EMAILED TO THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    The studies in Rwanda and Angola focused on children affected by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS. Can you talk about what you learned about the long terms effects of lack of education on these children? What is the solution you propose in this area?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION EMAILED TO THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    Can you describe how the interventions you applied in Rwanda and Angola can be transferred to other situations around the world? How do you export the Cost of Inaction model when the problems facing children in poor countries are so complicated and multifaceted?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION FROM THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    This is a question for Professor Anand – can you describe in a bit more detail how you ran your analysis of quantifying the negative impacts of not doing anything in specific scenarios. For example, how did you estimate the benefits and costs of a set of actions or non-actions?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION EMAILED TO THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    I feel like the concept of the Cost of Inaction can be applied to so many problems facing us today. You’ve applied it here to the neglect of children, I’ve also seen it used as a framework for understanding climate change. What about the effects of gun violence, or other types of violence like warfare or human trafficking? How can this concept get more into the general discourse so that it can be used to influence public policy on many different fronts?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION FROM THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    You’ve shown that doing nothing has a huge cost – but most people seem to feel that doing nothing actually maintains the status quo and changes nothing, especially on a long-term scale. How are you promoting this new idea to get it into the hands of people who are in a position to start changing lives right now? Are there plans to scale this up from Rwanda and Angola?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION FROM THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    How did you identify the priority areas in Rwanda and Angola on which to focus your work? And, can you please talk specifically about some your findings on male circumcision in the Angola study? Was that area chosen because of the impact on reducing HIV?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION FROM THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    How can the Cost of Inaction be used to empower not only government officials in making decisions, but also the populations that elect them?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    A QUESTION FROM THE FORUM ACCOUNT
    I think a valuable contribution of COI is that it proposes in its analysis to not simply evaluate a single action in isolation, but to identify complementary actions that remove constraints or jointly lead to greater benefits. I was hoping that Dr. Anand might be able comment further on this in comparison to a regular cost benefit analysis.