Lottery of birth
Lottery of birth

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Week 3: The lottery of birth – a good time to be born?


Children occupy a position at the heart of every society so every nation state is wise to take a close interest in the children being born.

The ideal of a safe birth, set within women’s reproductive health choices is endlessly challenged by political, demographic and economic upheavals. Internally too, families are subject to change driven by new ideas, values and beliefs.

Global struggles to combine economic efficiency, social justice and personal liberty are dogged by the deeply rooted, perennial issues of unequal access to resources (rich countries versus poor countries) and unequal distribution of power and influence. As you have seen in this course so far, the survival, health and well-being of all childbearing women and their babies still varies hugely.

There does, however, remain a common compulsion to try to protect the youngest and most vulnerable from conflict, poverty, neglect and disease and give as many children as possible a fair chance in life. As has been discussed throughout this course so far, this involves working at the macro level – specifically addressing global and national patterns of income, health and wealth – and at the micro level, in day to day decisions made by individuals, their families and communities.

This week you will again be looking at both the macro and micro levels as you look at the lottery of birth.

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