Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Annual State of Mothers Report issued by Save the Children.

The full on media version of the report can be accessed by clicking below. For ease of digestion, highlighted pieces of the report, including the report card of best and worst places to be a mother are below the multimedia version-- note that the United States of America does NOT fall into either the best OR worst places to be a mother. For the full report, visit Save The Children.

2008 Mothers' Index Rankings

Top 10 Best places to be a mother

Bottom 10 Worst places to be a mother


















New Zealand














Sierra Leone













WESTPORT, Conn. (May 6, 2008) – More than 200 million children under age 5 do not get basic health care when they need it, with the poorest children missing out and most at risk of dying, according to the ninth annual State of the World’s Mothers report issued today by Save the Children, a U.S.-based global independent humanitarian organization.


Among the report’s key findings:

  • More than 200 million children under age 5 lack basic health care. Among the 55 countries evaluated in the Basic Health Care Report Card, the Philippines, Peru, South Africa and Indonesia/Turkmenistan (tied) are doing the best job in getting basic health care to all children under age 5. Countries doing the worst are Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and Ethiopia.

  • The poorest children are least likely to get lifesaving health care and are more likely to die. In Mali and Nigeria, for example, the poorest children are 2.5 times more likely to go without health care. In India and Indonesia, the poorest children are three or more times more likely to die before reaching their fifth birthday than best-off children.
  • Closing health care coverage gaps could save more than 6 million children each year. If all children — rich and poor alike — were to receive a full package of essential health care, more than 6 million lives would be saved each year. Closing the survival gaps in India and Nigeria alone would prevent nearly 20 percent of global child deaths.

  • In more developed countries, children most lacking in basic health care and at risk of dying tend to be from low-income, ethnic minority groups. In the United States, America-Indian and Alaska-Native infants are nearly 50 percent more likely to die than white infants, and African American infants are 2.4 times more likely to die than white infants.

In addition to its special focus on the child survival gap, the report includes Save the Children’s ninth annual Mothers’ Index, which identifies the best and worst countries to be a mother and child by looking at child and maternal well-being in 146 countries. Sweden takes top place, while Niger takes last place in the ranking. The United States places 27th.


To reach more children under age 5 with basic health care measures and save lives, Save the Children recommends that countries:

  • Design health care programs to better target the poorest and most marginalized mothers and children. To save lives, we need to close the coverage gap for all children, but especially the gap between the rich and poor.
  • Invest in community health workers to reach the poorest of the poor with essential life-saving care. Many children die from causes that do not require doctors or hospitals, and could be saved by training, equipping and deploying more community health workers who can deliver this basic health care.
  • Deliver a basic package of maternal, newborn and child health care that takes into account the realities for poor people in developing countries. The tools to save mothers’ and children’s lives work best when they are delivered together as a package and along a “continuum of care” that links communities, local health facilities and hospitals. Most health systems devote significant resources to hospital-based care, but most sick children in developing countries never make it to a hospital.
The report also calls on governments to close the child survival gap by stepping up commitments to deliver basic health care, especially to the poorest children, in developing countries. The U.S. share of this commitment, known as the Global Child Survival Act (H.R. 2266 and S1418), would help save the lives of millions of newborns, babies and young children globally. The legislation, backed by over 100 members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, is awaiting action before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the Senate, the legislation has been voted out of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and is poised to be considered before the full Senate.

“Each day that we wait to act on this legislation, nearly 27,000 lives are lost. We can do better,” said MacCormack. “We urge Congress to get behind this legislation and give mothers and their children the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day not only this year, but in years to come.”

For more information on the State of the World’s Mothers 2008 report, contact Save the Children at 203-221-4233. The report also will be posted at

Save the Children is the leading independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, a global network of 28 independent Save the Children organizations working to ensure the well-being and protection of children in more than 120 countries.

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