Niger is worst place to be mother: study

The African nation of Niger has ousted Afghanistan as the worst place in the world to be a mother, largely due to hunger, according to an annual report out Tuesday by Save the Children.

In contrast, Norway is the best according to the group's "Best and Worst Places to Be a Mom" ranking which compares 165 countries in terms of maternal health, education, economic status and children's health and nutrition.

The report, which this year focuses on nutrition particularly from the time a woman gets pregnant until the child is two, said that malnutrition is an underlying cause of 2.6 million worldwide each year.

"Millions more children survive, but suffer lifelong physical and cognitive impairments because they did not get the nutrients they needed early in their lives when their growing bodies and minds were most vulnerable," it said.

After Niger, the next worst countries were listed as Afghanistan -- which held the lowest spot for two years -- Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Eritrea, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan and the .

"Of the 10 countries at the bottom of Save the Children's annual index, seven are in the midst of a ," it said.

"Niger, in bottom place, is currently in the grip of a worsening hunger situation, threatening the lives of a million children."

The top countries after Norway were Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands and Britain.

The United States ranked 25th, up from last year's 31st place but still below most .

"A woman in the US is more than seven times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland," said Carolyn Miles, president and of Save the Children.

"When it comes to the number of children enrolled in preschools or the political status of women, the United States also places in the bottom 10 countries of the developed world."

Supporting mothers to breastfeed could save one million children's lives a year, according to the report which added that fewer than 40% of all infants in developing countries are exclusively breastfed.

The group urged the Group of Eight nations with the world's largest economies to deliver "bold commitments to tackle the global hidden crisis of chronic malnutrition," and called on all governments to make the fight against a priority.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

U.S. infant mortality high for West

May 09, 2006

The United States has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the industrialized world, with sub-Saharan African countries among the worst overall.

Race to save mothers, children set to fall short

Sep 20, 2011

A global campaign to save new mothers and children under five in developing nations has made strong gains but is set to fall well shy of UN goals, according to a study released Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

2 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

17 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments