Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Australia second best place to be a mum... after Norway

Australia second best place to be a mum

Mothers Day
Happy Mother's Day! Aussie mums are among the best off in the world.
  • Study finds Australian mums doing OK
  • But Norwegian mothers are the best off
  • In Afghanistan, one in 11 die giving birth
AUSTRALIA is the second best place in the world to be a mum, according to a new study measuring the wellbeing of mothers and babies.
Norway topped the list, while Australia and Iceland tied in second place in Save the Children's 12th annual Mothers Index, released today.
Afghanistan came in last in the list of 164 countries, New Zealand was sixth and the US placed 31st.
Released every year in the days before Mother's Day, the international nonprofit group's ranking analyses the maternal and child indicators and other published information of 164 countries.
The top 10 countries, in general, attain high scores for mothers and children's health, educational and economic status, Save the Children said.
European countries - along with Australia and New Zealand - dominated the top positions in this year's list, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominated the lowest tier.
The survey considers Afghanistan the worst place to be a mother, with women having a life expectancy of 45 years - the world's lowest - and one of every 11 women dying in childbirth.
One out of every five children in the country doesn't live to age 5.
By contrast, a typical Norwegian woman lives to be 83 years old, and just one in 175 will lose a child before his or her 5th birthday.
Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Norway, while only 14 per cent of births are attended in Afghanistan.
Eighty-two per cent of women in Norway use modern contraception, contrasted with less than 16 per cent of Afghan women. In Australia, it's 71 per cent.
"The human despair and lost opportunities represented in these numbers demand mothers everywhere be given the basic tools they need to break the cycle of poverty and improve the quality of life for themselves, their children, and for generations to come," the report said.
The US-based Save the Children said governments and international agencies could help change the lot of women and girls in developing countries by improving their education, health care and economic opportunities.
It said the US and other industrialised nations could do more to improve education and health care for their own disadvantaged mothers and children.
The survey noted that the United States came in at 31 mainly because its maternal mortality rate of 1 in 2100 is among the highest of any industrialised nation.
Australia's maternal mortality rate was one in 7400.
The United States also does not do as well as most other developed countries when it comes to mortality of children aged five and under. Eight of every 1000 children born in the United States die before reaching their 5th birthday - a rate on par with Latvia.
Money isn't always the most important factor in improving the lives of mothers and their babies, said Save the Children, noting that Malawi has made notable progress in recent years.

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