Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best (and worst) Countries for Motherhood

Save the Children has released their most recent report on the State of the World's Mothers and one of the features is a rank of the countries based on a number of maternal and child health indicators.

This report not only shows the top countries for motherhood, but discusses very thoroughly the devastating health conditions that far too many mothers, infants, and children experience around the world, and thus the worst countries for motherhood.

The countries are ranked based on scores in certain indicators including female education, political representation, MCH policies (such as maternity leave), life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality rates, etc.

To exemplify the extremes, In Niger (#165) the life expectancy for women is 56 compared to 83 in Norway (#1), which offers one of the best maternity leave policies in the world.  Every mother in Niger is likely to suffer the loss of a child.

These rankings give you an idea of the overall picture of maternal health and motherhood in the respective countries, but it does not provide information on the distribution of health and experiences of motherhood within a country; where some may have poor health.

And on to the rankings...

The first 30 countries ranked: 

1. Norway
2. Iceland
3. Sweden
4. New Zealand
5. Denmark
6. Finland
7. Australia
8. Belgium
9. Ireland
10. The Netherlands
11.United Kingdom
12. Germany
14. France
15. Portugal
16. Spain
17. Estonia
18. Switzerland
20. Greece
21. Italy
22. Hungary
24. Belarus
25. United States
26. Czech Republic
28. Poland
29. Croatia
30. Japan 

... and the 10 worst countries for Motherhood (last 10 in the list)

156. DR Congo
156. South Sudan
156. Sudan
159. Chad
160. Eritrea
161. Mali
162. Guinea-Bissau
163. Yemen
164. Afghanistan
165. Niger

Many of the poor outcomes and deaths in the "worst" ranked countries can be avoided! Measures to decrease postpartum hemorrhage (such as having trained birth attendants), decrease infant death from diarrhea (support exclusive breastfeeding), and many other seemingly simple practices would improve motherhood around the world.

So whether you are looking for the best country to be a mom or where you can give support to make motherhood better for others, being informed will help you spread awareness too!

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