The World Health Organization (WHO) and others involved in international health have made considerable progress in improving health in the array of developing countries by advancing the concept of essential services. These are services which are low in cost and high in yield, which target major health problems, and which can realistically be made available to almost everyone in a given population. Programmes for these services have included defining, refining and promoting these services, as well as providing technical input to countries to help improve their capacity to deliver the services. Examples of essential service programmes include: the Essential Drugs Programme, the Expanded Programme on Immunization, the Global Tuberculosis Programme and the Safe Motherhood Initiative.
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