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This month’s issue opens with an editorial by Victora commenting on weak performance in achieving two of the eight Millennium Development Goals that leaders from 192 countries defined in 2000. Infant mortality in many countries is decreasing more slowly than would be necessary to attain the goals set out for 2015. For maternal mortality the situation is yet more dramatic. He argues that the “inverse care law”, proposed by Julian Tudor Hart in 1971, has been confirmed once again. This view seriously challenges world capacity to achieve the goals established in 2000, creating a new frustration regarding our political ability to decrease not only absolute misery but also relative disparities between rich and poor countries. (page 938)

In Speakers’ corner, Choi stresses the importance of evaluating any programme in research, surveillance, services, education and policy, by aiming to determine in a systematic and objective way its relevance, effectiveness and impact with respect to its aims. In several contexts important programmes start and finish without producing any information on its effects, preventing the accumulation of knowledge about the different interventions societies …

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