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Views & Reviews In and Out of Hospital

Maternal mortality: how many miles to Bethlehem?

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 08 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6966
  1. James Owen Drife, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Leeds
  1. J.O.Drife{at}

The closest I’ve got to Bethlehem was a medical workshop in Beirut last month. Or was it earlier, at a conference in Damascus or Amman? Distances in the Middle East can be deceptive. Are we talking geography, politics, or psychology?

As the crow flies from Jerusalem, Beirut is 145 miles (230 km) northwards and Amman is 44 miles to the east. On a map of England, if Oxford is Jerusalem, then Beirut, Damascus, and Amman are Leeds, Hull, and Welwyn Garden City.

What …

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