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World Health Forum. 1981; 2(2):264-80.This 6th report on the world health situation covers the 1973-1977 period and corresponded to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Fifth General Program of Work. Attention is directed to broad population trends, the socioeconomic situation, poverty, employment, mortality and morbidity, cardiovascular diseases, diseases in developing countries, national mortality projections, special health risks--children, mothers, adolescents--health care delivery infrastructure, reorientation of health services, and awareness of health problems. The population of the world increased in the 1970s at an annual rate of 1.9% and exceeded 4000 million in 1977. By the end of the period under review, the rate of growth seems to have somewhat slowed down. The 1 common feature of recent health trends in all parts of the world appears to be a slow down in progress in the reduction of mortality. Possibly the most interesting recent health trend in the more developed countries concerns the cardiovascular diseases. During recent years, the general trend in the age groups 35 and older has been for mortality from cardiovascular disease to decline. Regarding the many diseases plaguing the developing countries, there appears to have been little or no progress in recent years in reducing either their incidence or their prevalence. Malnutrition is the most widespread condition affecting the health of the world's children, particularly children in the developing countries. In countries that have well developed health care systems and good health statistics, the maternal mortality rate is of the magnitude of 5-30/100,000 live births and is continuously decreasing. The situation is much worse in most of the developing countries.