Save the Children released the 2015 Mothers' Index, which ranks 179 countries according to five factors related to maternal health, female political participation, economic status, educational attainment and children's health, to indicate in which country it is best to be a mother.
In commemoration of Mother's Day, the 16th annual report, this year's State of the World's Mothers report is published under the title "The Urban Disadvantage."
The organization notes that more than half of the world's population now lives in urban or city territories, and people continue to move to live in the cities. Save the Children emphasized in this annual report that as the developing world is being urbanized at a fast pace, future child deaths will be likely increase in city areas.
It also noted the gap between the urban poor and the urban rich is growing and that countries should address and implement universal health care as a national policy to meet the needs of the poor. It defines "urban poor" as the poorest 20 percent of urban households, while "urban rich" are the top 20 percent of urban households.
Scandinavian nations have steadily taken the first places in the Mothers' Index, with Norway this year stealing the crown from Finland, which was ranked first last year. The United States fell from number 31 on the index list to number 33 this year, behind Japan, Poland and Croatia. France and Britain took the 23rd and 24th spots, respectively, while Canada claimed rank number 20.
The 10 worst spots are all sub-Saharan African nations, with Haiti and Sierra Leone securing the same spot at 169. Nine of the bottom 10 countries are all prone to conflicts. Somalia came in last, at 179. "Conditions for mothers and their children in the bottom countries are grim. On average, 1 woman in 30 dies from pregnancy-related causes and 1 child in 8 dies before his or her fifth birthday," the report notes [pdf].
In developing nations, great steps have been taken in reducing the overall mother and infant mortality rates. Save the Children checked closely the 36 developed countries, and discovered a significant gap between poor and rich urban kids.
The results showed that under the same city, poor urban children were two times as likely to die as their counterparts residing in the richer sections of the same city. The high numbers of child deaths in urban areas are often rooted in deprivation, disadvantages and discrimination, based on the report's findings.
Globally, we all must contribute and invest in our children's future, Save the Children notes. The organization would like to see a universal campaign to guarantee international health care coverage, basically affordable and much-needed health care to everyone, regardless of their circumstances. The report also noted 45 percent of child deaths were caused by malnutrition, and every country will have to work hard fighting food insecurity.
Photo: Jessica Pankratz | Flickr