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Global index reflects state of women and children worldwide

Jul 13, 2011

State of the World’s Mothers 2011 report by NGO Save the Children, uses the Mothers’ Index to compare the well-being of mothers and children in 164 countries. The index uses various health, educational and economic indicators for women and children across the globe.

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State of the World's Mothers 2011 

Millions of poor and marginalized families do not get basic health care because it’s simply unavailable, too far away, or too expensive. This remains the primary reason why 8 million children under 5 die every year from preventable or treatable causes. 

Right now, mothers and their children in developing countries are dying because they can’t get safe drinking water, or immunization against common diseases, or basic health care. 

As per the Mothers’ Index Rankings which includes 164 countries across the world; the most industrialized countries cluster tightly at the top of the Index – with the majority of these countries performing well on all indicators – the highest ranking countries attain very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status.

The bottom 10 countries are mostly those in Sub-Saharan Africa. But Afganistan lies at the bottom of the bottom ten. Conditions for mothers and their children in these countries are devastating. 

Afghanistan has the highest lifetime risk of maternal mortality and the lowest female life expectancy in the world. It also places second to last on skilled attendance at birth, under-5 mortality and gender disparity in primary education. 

Performance on most other indicators also places Afghanistan among the lowest-ranking countries in the world.

The contrast in statistics between top-ranked countries like Norway, and the lowest-ranked country, Afghanistan, is striking. Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Norway. A typical Norwegian woman has 18 years of formal education and will live to be 83 years old, 82 percent are using some modern method of contraception, and only one in 175 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday.

On average, 1 woman in 30 will die from pregnancy-related causes. One child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday, and 1 child in 3 suffers from malnutrition. 

Nearly 50% of the population lacks access to safe water and only 4 girls for every 5 boys are enrolled in primary school. 

Also, only 14% of births in Afghanistan are attended by skilled personnel. A typical woman in Afghanistan, has fewer than 5 years of education and doesn't live to be 45. Less than 16% of women are using modern contraception, and 1 child in 5 dies before reaching age 5. 

Owing to such poor statistics, 9 out of 10 women are likely to suffer the loss of a child in their lifetime. At this rate, every mother in Afghanistan is likely to suffer the loss of a child. 

The data collected for the Mothers’ Index document indicates the tremendous gaps between rich and poor countries and the urgent need to accelerate progress in the health and well-being of mothers and their children.

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