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The global health landscape looks more promising than ever, although progress has been uneven. Here, we describe the current global burden of disease throughout the life cycle, highlighting regional differences in the unfinished agenda of communicable diseases and reproductive, maternal, and child health and the additive burden of emerging noncommunicable diseases and injuries. Understanding this changing landscape is an essential starting point for effective allocation of both domestic and international resources for health.
The turn of this century coincided with a reinvigorated energy to improve the state of global health. New institutions (such as the GAVI Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria), more and better funding (such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and renovated political will [such as United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] have already made an impact by reducing mortality among children and mothers and accelerating declines in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in low-income countries. Despite the welcome news about rapid declines in childhood mortality almost everywhere, there are persisting health inequalities, emerging conditions, and important regional variations in causes of death that require closer scrutiny.