Aid Group: Afghanistan No Longer Worst Place in World for Mothers

Posted May 8th, 2012 at 1:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Save the Children says for the first time in two years Afghanistan is not the worst place to be a mother in the world.

In its annual report released Tuesday, the international aid group ranked Afghanistan number two after Niger due to improvements in maternal and child health.

The index looks at factors such as mother's health, education and economic status in 165 countries around the world, as well as child indicators such as health and nutrition.

Save the Children's Senior Director for Nutrition Karin Lapping says there has been some real progress in a few key indicators such as skilled birth attendance in Afghanistan.

She says, “more and more we are seeing that there are higher skills of those accompanying women when they are giving birth. That actually rose by 10 percentage points. We are also seeing that female life expectancy in Afghanistan is getting better and has gone up almost 5 years.”

Lapping adds that the average number of years Afghan girls are in school has increased by a year and a half. Child mortality has dropped from 200 deaths per 1,000 live births to 149.

Despite the progress Save the Children says Afghanistan still has a long way to go. Lapping says the country still has the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. Half of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. One woman in 11 will die of pregnancy-related causes — the highest lifetime risk of maternal mortality in the world.

Save the Children ranked Norway as the best place in the world to be a mother. The United States ranked 25th, moving up from 31st place last year.