Most people know, in a casual sort of way, that ill health and poverty are associated. However, in 1995 the World Health Organization stated that extreme poverty was the most serious cause of disease. 1 The same source goes on to say that 7 out of every 10 deaths in the less developed countries (LDCs) can be attributed to just five causes, namely pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition. We have the means to prevent virtually all such deaths, cheaply and easily. Pneumonia can be treated with the less expensive antibiotics, diarrhoea can be arrested with standard saline–sugar packs at a penny a day, and measles is preventable by inoculation. Malaria has not yet attracted sufficient long-term financial interest for a cure to be available, but it can certainly be largely prevented by the use of bed-nets, and in a world characterised by massive overproduction (and then destruction) of food mountains, malnutrition is nothing less than an obscenity.