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The Cover
May 16, 2012

Dimensions of Global Health, 2012

JAMA. 2012;307(19):2006. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.2984

Human health has improved more in our lifetimes than it did in the preceding thousand years. Since 1970, the number of infants who die has decreased by more than half worldwide, and maternal mortality has fallen dramatically in virtually every region of the world. Facing today's enormous global health challenges, we often lose sight of such advances. Health has improved for several reasons. First and foremost, economic growth improves people's life chances. In 1970, close to half the world's population lived in extreme poverty; now one in seven people lives in poverty. More people have access to clean water, immunizations, and basic health services because of the work of governments, charitable groups including faith-based organizations, international organizations, the private sector, and public and private development assistance. Wider dissemination of information and increasing citizen participation make it possible for many lower-income people to make better-informed decisions about their health.

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