State of the World’s Mothers and Their Babies
“Where I come from people do not celebrate the birth of their babies -- they wait to name their babies for seven days.” ~ Dr Kim Eva Dickson, Senior Adviser, Maternal and Newborn Health, UNICEF
Last week, Save the Children released its annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The report uses the “latest data on health, education, economic resources and political participation, ranking 176 countries to show where it is the best place to be a mom and the toughest place to be a mom. As Melinda Gates says in the report’s introduction, “Any report on the state of the world’s mothers is by definition a report on the state of the world.”
The 2013 Mothers’ Index ranked the US as the 30th best place to be a mother in the world, behind many European nations, largely due to the number of newborn deaths. The countries in the bottom 10 spots are all in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This year’s report also explored data from 186 countries to create the first Birth Day Risk Index.
Babies’ Birth Days Are Their Most Dangerous
Shockingly, more than 1 million babies die on their first day in the world.
This beautiful and touching video shows the deep connection between mothers around the world, take a minute to watch:
The report highlights the risks and solutions for babies on their first day of life. “Where I come from, people do not celebrate the birth of their babies -- they wait to name their babies for seven days.” Dr. Dickson, UNICEF’s Senior Advisor on Maternal and Newborn Health, said about traditions in her home country, Ghana. She recalled celebrating her first child’s birth with absolute jubilation, but then quickly reflecting on those remaining un-named.
Ambassador Dr. Mwaba Kasese-Bota from the Republic of Zambia said the Save the Children report “reveals what we have always known -- women bear the brunt of these inequalities.” She reiterated her government’s commitment to closing the gap by implementing policies for health access and affordable care while acknowledging the challenges of implementation. She called for greater investment in front line health workers. Her commitment comes with the voice of experience. “I will work on this as an Ambassador, as a doctor and as a mother. I am a mother who is part of the statistics we are hearing today.” She had twins who were born at 23 weeks. One died after four days, but the other survived and is thriving, because she was able to get access to appropriate care.
Four Low-Cost Solutions
The report highlights low-cost solutions that can help keep mothers and their newborns safe: steroid injections to help women in premature labor deliver babies with more developed lungs, antiseptic to clean umbilical cords, antibiotics for infection, and basic resuscitation equipment. These tools, along with kangaroo mother care (skin to skin carrying) and breastfeeding to help save 75 percent of these babies move beyond their first day in the world.
Take Action Challenge
What can we do? Start by joining Save the Children in protecting and increasing US funding for essential health programs that make all the difference for women and children around the world. Add your voice to this petition. And share it with a friend.
Take the ChallengeEvery 90 seconds a woman needlessly loses her life in pregnancy or childbirth. But 80% of these are preventable. Take action now:
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