An assessment of the relative burden attributable to selected risk factors (1) provides an important evidence base for prioritising risk factors that should be targeted for public health interventions. Selecting interventions should be based on a robust and transparent process of scientific evaluations of their effectiveness, as well as assessment of their cost-effectiveness, local applicability and appropriateness, and likely effects on health inequalities. (2,3) Establishing such an evidence base is an ongoing process that is still at an early stage in South Africa. A recent review of disease control priorities for developing countries (DCPP) (4) examined the global evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions for major health burdens. Despite acknowledging the lack of intervention trials in developing countries, this DCPP review provides a unique resource for identifying interventions that might be useful in South Africa. High-quality research into public health interventions has been growing steadily in South Africa. In the area of HIV prevention, for example, ground-breaking studies have been conducted on microbicides, (5) male circumcision, (6) and the gender transformative Stepping Stones programme. (7) The Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity (IMAGE) study (8) is a unique trial that addressed structural gender and economic dependencies facing women and demonstrated the use of this as a means for reducing intimate partner violence. Further support for such innovative and rigorous research is needed.