Ten worst places to be a mom

Based on indicators like mother and child health, mortality rates, and child malnutrition, a new report ranks Niger as the worst country for mothers.

By James Addis and Shawna Templeton, World Vision U.S.
Published May 10, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

A new report ranking 165 countries rates Niger as the worst place in the world to be a mother.

Niger tops the list

The “State of the World’s Mothers” report for 2012, released by the non-profit group Save the Children, says the West African country performs poorly across all indicators of maternal and child health, including high rates of maternal mortality and child malnutrition.

In Niger, one child in seven dies before his or her fifth birthday, which means every mother in Niger is likely to suffer the loss of a child.

The top 10 worst places to be a mom are, in descending order, Niger*, Afghanistan, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Mali*, Eritrea, Chad*, Sudan*, South Sudan*, and the Democratic Republic of Congo*. Countries marked by an asterisk indicate places where World Vision is working to improve child and maternal health.

Top threats: Preventable disease, pregnancy complications, and malnutrition

When it comes to child health, the major killers of children under age 5 are neonatal causes, such as complications during pregnancy and birth, as well as a handful of preventable infectious diseases — pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and malaria.

Every day, approximately 1,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in most developing countries. For instance, Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places for a mother to give birth. However, the maternal mortality rate has dropped in recent years due to improving standards in antenatal care.

Globally, more than one-third of child deaths are attributed to under-nutrition. In the lead-up to the G8 Summit this month, World Vision is calling on the G8 leaders to fulfillment commitments to maternal and child nutrition. We are urging leaders to implement a global action plan for maternal and child health and ensure adequate food and nutrition security for communities.

Three ways you can help

Pray for mothers who struggle to keep themselves and their children healthy in places where poverty makes it nearly impossible to access basics like health services, nutritious food, and education. Pray that the international community, especially G8 leaders, would see their plight and take action.

Make a one-time gift to help provide healthcare to mothers and pregnant women in Afghanistan. Your gift will help deliver training for midwives, prenatal and ongoing medical care for mothers and children, improved nutrition, immunizations, and other critical interventions for those in need.

Join the HungerFree campaign, World Vision’s global movement to press world leaders to address global hunger and child malnutrition at the G8 Summit.