May 4, 2011 — Norway topped Save the Children's 12th annual Mothers Index, which measures the wellbeing of mothers and infants by analyzing maternal and child indicators and other published information on 164 countries, the AP/Miami Herald reports. The U.S. ranked 31st, while Afghanistan came in last place.
The U.S.'s rank was based largely on having one of the highest maternal mortality rates among industrialized nations at one maternal death per 2,100 births, Save the Children said. A woman in the U.S. is seven times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than a woman in Italy or Ireland and 15 times more likely than a woman in Greece. Eight of every 1,000 children born in the U.S. die before age five, which is on par with Latvia.
Norway has a low maternal mortality rate, a female life expectancy of 83 years old, and a child mortality rate of one death before age five for every 175 children. By contrast, a woman in Afghanistan has a life expectancy of 45 years, and one in every five children dies before age five. One in every 11 women dies during childbirth in the country. In Norway, almost every delivery is attended by skilled health personnel, compared with just 14% of births in Afghanistan.
The report called for governments and international agencies to improve educational, health care and economic opportunities for women in developing countries."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 (Snow, AP/Miami Herald, 5/3).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership