‘A nation’s prosperity built on its mothers’

SO WHAT is your family doing for Mother’s Day?

Every family I know has their own traditions and their own idea of what constitutes an appropriate celebration.

To mark Mother’s Day, Save the Children has produced the State of the World’s Mothers report, which takes a look at how comparatively tough it is to be a mother across the globe.

According to Save the Children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the toughest place in the world to be a mother, while Finland the best.

Indeed, the Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom 10 places in the annual list.

The Mothers’ Index, in the State of the World’s Mothers report, is a unique ranking of 176 countries around the globe, showing those that are succeeding – and those failing – in their support to mothers.

It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women’s income and political status.

According to Save the Children, the startling disparities between mothers in the developed and developing world are summed up around maternal risk.

A woman or girl in DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200.

In the DRC, which performs poorly across all indicators, girls are likely to be educated for eight-and-a-half years compared to Finland at the top, where girls can expect to receive some 16 years of education.

Save the Children International’s chief executive, Jasmine Whitbread, has commented: “By investing in mothers and children, nations are investing in their future prosperity.

“If women are educated, are represented politically, and have access to good quality maternal and child care, then they and their children are much more likely to survive and thrive – and so are the societies they live in.

“Huge progress has been made across the developing world, but much more can be done to save and improve millions of the poorest mothers’ and newborns’ lives.”

On the Mothers’ Index, Australia came in a very respectable 10th behind Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain Belgium and Germany.

Canada was ranked at number 22 and the UK at 23, while the US placed 30th.

We don’t hear the tag “Lucky Country” bandied about much any more when people are talking about Australia, but I think this report shows we might be able to apply it, at the very least, when it comes to maternity care.

Anyway, whatever your plans are for Sunday, I hope you have a very happy Mother’s Day.

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