William MacAskill is that rare creature: a true visionary and iconoclast, a bright rising star in the too often stodgy field of philanthropy. Like many people in the Effective Altruism movement, I anticipated this week's release of MacAskill's book Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference.
Until I met Mariama, ten years after her agonizing delivery, I had never heard of vesicovaginal fistula (VVF). That's because in the United States, stories like hers haven't been told in more than 100 years. Today, VVF keeps company with obsoletes like smallpox and polio in the shadows of Western medicine, where its symptoms are referenced in the past tense. But in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, more than 2 million women still suffer from the condition.