Aussie Mums Among the World’s Best - Report
8 May 2014 at 11:00 am
Australian mothers have ranked in the top 10 of Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index – making the country among the best in the world for mothers’ and children’s health and well-being.
The Mothers’ Index is part of Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers 2014 report, and shows where mothers and children fare best, and where they face the greatest hardships, using the latest data on health, education, economics and female political participation.
This year, Finland topped the index, followed by Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Australia and Belgium tying for ninth spot.
The index ranked power nations, the United Kingdom at 26, the US at 31 and China at 61. Neighbouring New Zealand was ranked at 16.
According to the report, European countries, along with Australia, have dominated the top positions in the Mothers’ Index over the past 15 years.
“Only four countries have ever been named the best place to be a mother: Sweden (8 times), Norway (4 times), Finland (twice) and Switzerland (once),” the report said.
“Iceland and Sweden have been in the top 5 each of the years they’ve been ranked. Denmark and the Netherlands have also been consistent top performers, usually placing in the middle of the top 10.
“Australia’s rank has been generally a bit lower, but it has made the top 10 every year for the past 15 years. These countries remain among the best in the world for mothers’ and children’s health and well-being.”
The report also showed that the average child in Australia and New Zealand can expect to stay in school for more than 19 years, in comparison to a typical child in Eritrea, Niger, South Sudan and Sudan who receives only about five years of formal education.
The report said Somali children receive less than two and a half years of schooling.
The 10 countries ranked at the bottom of the Mothers’ Index were Co?te d’Ivoire, Chad, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, DR Congo and Somalia.
“The data collected for the Mothers’ Index document 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,” the report said.
“The data also highlight the role that armed conflict, poor governance and natural disasters play in these tragedies.
“All the bottom 10 countries have a recent history of armed conflict and are considered to be fragile states, which means they are failing in fundamental ways to perform functions necessary to meet their citizens’ basic needs and expectations. Six of the bottom 10 countries suffer from recurring natural disasters.”
The report’s recommendations include:
- ensuring that every mother and newborn living in crisis has access to high quality health care;
- investing in women and girls and ensure their protection;
- building longer term resilience to minimise the damaging effects of crises on health;
- designing emergency interventions with a longer term view and the specific needs of mothers and newborns in mind; and
- ensuring political engagement and adequate financing, coordination and research around maternal and newborn health in crisis settings.
To view the State of the World’s Mothers 2014 report, click here.