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In the past 50 years, the developing world has benefited from tremendous improvements in health. Life expectancy has risen from 40 to 65 years. The chances that a child will survive to the age of five have doubled. In addition to directly improving people’s lives, this progress contributes to economic growth. While some of the improvement in health is the result of overall social and economic gains, about half of it is due to specific efforts to address major causes of disease and disability, such as providing better and more accessible health services, introducing new medicines and other health technologies, and fostering healthier behaviors.
In 2004 a working group of experts was convened by the Center for Global Development to identify cases in which large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries have succeeded -- saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities. Seventeen of these cases were originally captured in CGD's enormously successful book Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health. This brief is based on the new edition of the book, titled Case Studies in Global Health: Millions Saved published by Jones and Bartlett in 2007, which documents three new successes in Nepal, Chile, and India, and updates to the 17 original success stories.