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The global public health agenda is daunting. It ranges from the unfinished work on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are especially relevant to the poorer countries, to chronic non-communicable diseases, global environmental changes and the social determinants of health, which are relevant to all countries.
While we are generally optimistic concerning progress in global public health, we recognise that assessing progress is not easy, given the paucity of data, even on basic measures of life and death.1 Specific indicators of global health progress, such as for the MDGs,2 have encouraged the flow of additional resources to areas where progress has been slow. The state of health in the USA is an example of an area where a scorecard has been used to track progress over time.3
Stimulated by the ideas of Archie Cochrane,4 we have proposed …
Competing interests: None.