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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

5 - Improving Health: Saving Lives


Access to health care is at the core of efforts to improve well-being. At the most fundamental level, infants must survive birth and children need to live beyond their first five years of life in order to benefit from human development programs, such as public schooling. To live a dignified life, people must also be able to maintain their health by avoiding deadly diseases and receiving life-saving treatment. In many countries around the world, childbirth is a risky endeavor for women. Therefore, women must also be able to survive the birth of their children. All to say that individuals need to lead healthy lives if they are to eventually develop capabilities that allow them to more productively engage the market, politics, and civil society (Sen 1999; McGuire 2010; Nussbaum 2011). Over several decades, the international development community has increasingly linked health to issues of human development and economic development.