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Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], Division of Analysis, Research and Assessment, 1996. iv, 51 p. (WHO/ARA/96.1)This booklet presents the WHO global initiative for equity in health and health care that aims to promote and support practical policies and action to reduce avoidable social gaps in health and health care. The initiative builds on work conducted over the last 3 decades, towards health for all by the WHO and other agencies, but is based on a critical reassessment of needs and strategies in view of current economic, social and political conditions prevailing throughout the world. The objectives of the initiative are 1) to make the reduction of social gaps in health and health care a priority on the agendas for policy and action of national and international organizations; 2) to support targeted research and ongoing monitoring activities needed to develop and evaluate effective and efficient policies to reduce social gaps in health and health care; and 3) to promote and support international exchange of experiences likely to be effective and efficient in reducing social gaps in health and health care. In coordination with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the WHO has funded initial planning and development and projects that are now under way in one African country and one Asian country. Meanwhile, nongovernmental and governmental organizations in several other countries have expressed interest in participating. Additional sources of support are needed to expand and further develop the initiative, linking it with complementary effort.