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And the best place in the world to be a mother is …

/ 05:38 PM May 07, 2015

With Mothers’ Day just around the corner, do you know where the best place in the world to be a mother is?

Out of 179 countries, the Philippines maintained its last year’s ranking at 105th in the annual motherhood index released by international nongovernmental organization Save the Children on Monday.

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Norway, last year’s runner-up, exchanged places with 2014 topnotcher Finland as the best place to be a mother in the global ranking. Iceland, Denmark and Sweden also cracked the top five.

According to the State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report, Filipino women face a 1 in 250 risk of maternal death, while the child mortality rate is set at 29.9 per 1,000 live births. This is almost parallel to the country’s 2014 record of 1 in 300 maternal death risk, and infant mortality rate of 29.8 per 1,000 live births.

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Somalia remained at the bottom of the list for the second straight year, trailing behind the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mali, and Niger. Meanwhile, the United States missed two spots to 33rd and recorded the worst risk of maternal death risk in any developed country at 1 in every 1,800.

Singapore topped all other Asian countries and emerged 14th worldwide, beating South Korea and Japan in the 30th and 32nd spots, respectively.

The global aid agency ranks the countries according to five indicators—maternal health as measured by lifetime risk of maternal death, children’s well-being as measured by under-5 mortality rate, educational status or children’s expected number of years of formal schooling, economic status as measured by gross national income per capita, and political status in reference to the percentage of seats held by women in the political arena.

Data further showed that children in the Philippines were expected to complete only 11.3 years of formal education, while Filipino women occupy 27.1 percent of the positions in the national government.

‘Urban disadvantage’

This year’s report, titled “The Urban Disadvantage,” also aims to shed light on the situation of women and children in poor cities.

“One of the worst places in the world to be a mother is in an urban slum,” the report reads. “In 2015 more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Unfortunately, a growing proportion of child deaths are occurring within these cities in urban slums.”

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Save the Children says 17,000 children die every day before reaching the age of 5—most cases of which are recorded in city slums where overpopulation and poor sanitation coexist.

While acknowledging the difficulty in addressing health disparities in the world, the report said it was not entirely impossible to create “more equitable cities.”

“[A] number of cities cited in the report—such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Manila in the Philippines—have been successful in addressing the health needs of the poorest families, and these examples could serve as models for other cities to follow,” it further reads.

The organization cited Manila and five other cities that made “good progress” in saving the lives of urban poor children through a “variety of strategies.”

“The city profiles provide a diverse set of examples, but the most consistently employed success strategies included: 1) Better care for mothers and babies before, during and after childbirth; 2) Increased use of modern contraception to prevent or postpone pregnancy, and 3) Effective strategies to provide free or subsidized quality health services for the poor,” it said.

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TAGS: maternal death, mortality rate, mother's day, Motherhood index, NGO, Norway, Philippines, Save the Children, Somalia
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