Metrics: What Counts in Global Health
There is a new purpose to numbers in global health: numbers are needed not just for retrospective accounting but also to calculate prospective actuarial worth. This shift in the purpose of metrics is a shift of “value,” arising at a historical moment when using “metrics as anticipatory praxis” means that global health commodities like drugs, medical devices, water engineering, and care itself are only sometimes assessed in terms of improvements in human corporeal health and well-being. Increasingly the purpose of metrics is also to assess how much money any given technology, commodity, or care model is likely to make for investors in the future. We are moving more deeply into a world order where clinical and public health efforts are comingled with investment logics; metrics works both.