Have you noticed any of the recent articles on child mortality across the world? Here in the UK the headlines have told us that we have the highest death rate of under-5s in the whole of Western Europe, with 5.3 deaths per 1000 live births. That compares with Sweden's 2.7.
But the figures from other Americanised cultures are equally as bad: Australia had 4.7 deaths per 1000, Canada had 4.9 and the US had a shocking 6.7.
Child deaths are falling across the world, in developing as well as developed nations. But I still have to wonder why they are higher in American-type cultures than European countries. The reasons are obviously very complex but increases in obesity, fertility treatment and average maternal age are surely important factors.
Could the private American health system also be to blame for it's terrible child mortality? The UK's National Health Service is far from brilliant, but at least every mother has easy access to quality obstetric and paediatric care if it is needed.
Years ago, before the NHS was established, my great great aunt lost her two year old son to diptheria because she could not afford to take him to hospital. She never had another child and for the rest of her life she cursed herself for failing to save him. This is the reality behind child mortality.