Cost-effectiveness Analysis: A Useful Tool for the Assessment and Evaluation of Relief Operations

Cost-effectiveness analysis is not the same as cost-benefit analysis. It does not entail valuation of human life or quantification of human suffering, and is of use in those situations where benefits cannot be reasonably measured in monetary terms. Cost-effectiveness analysis is, therefore, a potentially valuable tool for the evaluation of relief operations, where the aim is to save lives and reduce suffering. It is essential that the relationship between cost and performance of relief activities be fully explored and understood: in a world where numerous competing demands are being made upon finite aid resources, the inefficient use of funds in one operation may reduce the availability of funds for other operations where needs are equally critical.