The Lancet

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Lancet

The Lancet, the leading British medical journal, just published a special issue that it is offering for free over the Internet.

Why do this? Here's the e-mail I received from them explaining their action (I got the e-mail because I'm already registered).

Eight million children are either stillborn or die each year within the first month of life. This figure never makes news.

The issue of child survival is a moral as well as a health barometer of our times. The aim of the present Lancet series (Neonatal Survival) is to erase the excuse of ignorance for public and political inaction once and for all.

This series is the product of a partnership between scientists, health workers, and journal editors. Together we can make a difference to the lives of those who have no voice.

We believe that this is the most important public health campaign we have taken part in for a generation. It is for this reason that we are making this special issue available at no cost to all 1.1 million registered users of

The e-mail doesn't make clear that the focus is on the 99% of neonatal deaths that occur in developing countries, and on how so many of those deaths could be prevented through procedures that we inhabitants of rich countries take for granted.

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