Somalia worst place to be a mother

May 5, 2014
Credit: Marty from Manitou Springs, USA. Via Wikipedia.

Somalia is the worst country on Earth to be a mother, according to a report published by Save the Children on Monday which calls for more action to protect mothers and children in crisis-hit areas.

The London-based charity estimates that 800 mothers and 18,000 young are dying around the world every day from largely preventable causes.

Finding ways to meet the health and nutritional needs of this vulnerable group is particularly vital in fragile states and humanitarian crises, it says in its annual "State of the World's Mothers" report.

Almost a third of child deaths are found in West and Central Africa, while another third occur in South Asia, where high mortality rates are increasingly concentrated in socially-excluded communities.

The charity compared 178 countries in terms of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women's income and political status.

Somalia came bottom of the global rankings, although only narrowly below the Democratic Republic of Congo—the lowest ranking country last year—followed by Niger, Mali and Guinea-Bissau.

"It's no surprise that the 10 toughest places to be a mother in this year's Mothers' Index all have a recent history of armed conflict and are considered to be fragile states," said Save the Children International's chief executive Jasmine Whitbread.

"The poorest mothers have it the hardest: the report once again points out the disheartening disparity between mothers in rich and poor countries."

Three years ago Afghanistan was the worst place to be a mother, but it is now ranked 146th due to progress in cutting child and maternal death.

By contrast Syria has slumped from 65th place in 2011 to 115th in 2014, after the conflict caused "the collapse of what had been a functioning health system, and threatens to set back progress by a generation", the report says.

More than 60 million women and children needed humanitarian assistance this year, the report says.

While more than half of maternal and occur in crisis-affected places, the majority of these deaths were still preventable, it argues.

Top of the list of the charity's recommendations is improving access to high quality healthcare, but it also emphasises the benefits of investing in women's education and economic empowerment.

"Every country must be better prepared to assist mothers and children in emergencies," the report said.

However, it conceded: "Ending preventable deaths of and children will not be possible until fragile countries become more stable and health care more accessible."

Finland is the best place to be a mother, followed by Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Netherlands.

The highest non-European countries were Australia (9th), Singapore (15th) and New Zealand (17th), while the United States came in 31st place and China in 61st place.

The lowest non-African countries were Haiti (168th), Papua New Guinea (164th) and Yemen (162nd).

Top 10 (rank [descending], country):

1—Finland

2—Norway

3—Sweden

4—Iceland

5—Netherlands

6—Denmark

7—Spain

8—Germany

=9—Australia

=9—Belgium

Bottom 10 (rank [ascending], country):

178—Somalia

177—Democratic Republic of Congo

=175—Mali

=175—Niger

173—Central African Republic

172—Sierra Leone

174—Guinea-Bissau

171—Nigeria

170—Chad

169—Ivory Coast

Explore further: Niger is worst place to be mother: study

Related Stories

Niger is worst place to be mother: study

May 8, 2012
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.

DR Congo 'worst place to be a mother' (Update)

May 7, 2013
The Democratic Republic of Congo has displaced Niger to gain the unenviable distinction of being the worst place in the world to be a mother, according to a new report by Save the Children.

Sharp decline in maternal and child deaths globally, new data show

May 2, 2014
Since the start of an international effort to address maternal and child mortality, millions of lives have been saved globally, two new studies by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of ...

Million babies a year die within 24 hours: report

February 25, 2014
A million newborn babies a year die within 24 hours, charity Save the Children said in a report out Tuesday which urged governments to tackle preventable deaths.

Maternal deaths on the rise in the United States

May 2, 2014
The United States is among just eight countries in the world to experience an increase in maternal mortality since 2003 – joining Afghanistan and countries in Africa and Central America, according to a new study by the ...

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

Three million Americans carry loaded handguns daily, study finds

October 19, 2017
An estimated 3 million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and 9 million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.