New Zealand one of the best places in the world to be a Mother

Tuesday 4 May 2010, 4:40PM
By Save the Children NZ

Mothers in New Zealand are living in one of the best places in the world, according to Save the Children's 11th annual State of the World's Mothers report released today, which ranks the best and worst places in the world to be a mother.

Norway tops the list with Australia coming in at second and New Zealand at number six while Afghanistan ranked at the bottom of the list of 160 countries - and the gap is enormous.

Afghanistan is one of the riskiest places on earth for the health of mothers and children with Afghan women facing a one in eight chance of dying from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. A quarter of all children do not reach their fifth birthday.

Only 14 per cent of births in Afghanistan are attended by skilled personnel and a typical woman receives only four years of education and will have an average life expectancy of just 44 years. Yet in New Zealand a typical women receives 20 years of education and has an average life expectancy of 82.

"We are lucky here in New Zealand but as Mother's Day approaches, it's important that we look at the broader picture - and the grim reality for mothers all around the world," said Save the Children New Zealand Chief Executive Liz Gibbs.

"The shortage of skilled birth attendants and challenges in accessing birth control means that women in countries like Afghanistan and Niger face the most pregnancies and the most risky birth situations, which can and often does result in death."

"It's estimated that we could save the lives of almost 250,000 women and 5.5 million children if all women had access to a full package of essential healthcare - and that's what Save the Children is working towards with our EVERY ONE campaign. Getting more female health workers must be a priority."

"We know that providing mothers with access to education, economic opportunities and maternal and child health care gives mothers and their children the best chance to survive and thrive."

Among the top 10 best places to be a mother: Norway ranks first, followed by Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Among the bottom 10 places: Afghanistan ranks last, preceded by Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea.