Are things getting better for moms in America? Or are things getting worse for everyone else?
Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report put the United States in a slightly higher ranking than it was last year. Out of 165 countries, the U.S. was ranked the 25th best place for moms — up from the 31st spot last year. The rankings are based on factors such as mother’s health, education and economic status, and critical child indicators such as health and nutrition.
The best country in the world for moms is Norway.
At the other end of the rankings is Niger. Currently in the grip of a food shortage, the country was named the worst place to be a mom. For the previous two years, Afghanistan held that spot.
Though the United States appears to be doing better, the country still ranks low compared to other rich and developed nations, according to Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. From a press release on the annual report:
“A woman in the U.S. is more than 7 times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland. 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.”
Threats of access to adequate nutrition plays a role in seven of the 10 worst countries for mom. At least one-fifth of maternal deaths and one-third of all child deaths around the world can be attributed to malnutrition.
Research for the report concludes that breastfeeding could be key to saving infant lives in these bottom-ranking countries.
“Our research shows that a mother’s breast milk — one single nutrition intervention — can save a million children’s lives each year,” said Miles. “All mothers should have the support they need to choose to breastfeed if they want to. Breastfeeding is good for babies no matter where they live, but in developing countries, especially those without access to clean water, breastfeeding can be a matter of life or death.”
Other policy recommendations coming out of the report include a stronger commitment from wealthy nations to tackle global nutrition and health problems, scaled-up programs for pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of 2, better support and outreach for breastfeeding, and continued assistance to the poorest of nations.
Other top-ranking nations are Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the U.K.
Bottom-ranking nations are DR Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, Mali, Guineau-Bissau, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Niger.