In its annual “Mother’s Day Report Card,” Save the Children this week released a ranking of the best and worst countries for mothers and children. The report is the eighth annual of its kind compiled by the global humanitarian organization. The report considers, among other factors, the risk of maternal mortality, use of modern contraceptives, the presence of skilled attendants during labor, women’s income as compared to men’s, education for girls, the percentage of underweight children under five, and the participation of women in government. Sweden is ranked the best place to be a mother and Niger falls last. The United States places 26 of 140 countries. Italy provides the best environment for children; Niger and Afghanistan tie for last place.
Maternal mortality rates are of strong concern in the lowest-tier countries. In Afghanistan, Save the Children found that one in six women dies in childbirth. One in four Afghan children dies before reaching the age of five.
“Investing in the health of mothers everywhere is not just the right thing to do — it is the smart thing to do,” said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children.”When we take care of mothers by ensuring that they have the basic tools they need to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children, we also improve prospects for generations to come.”