Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The worst continent in the world to be a mother

Save the Children's Mother's Index 2011 has been released (full report here). 8 of the 10 worst places in the world to be a mother are in Africa: CAR, Sudan, Mali, Eritrea, DRC, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Niger. The other two are Yemen and Afghanistan, which Afghanistan being the worst (where women are 200 times more likely to die in childbirth than from bombs or bullets).

In these 10 countries,

  • over half of all births are not attended by skilled birth attendants, 
  • 1 in 30 women, on average, dies from pregnancy-related causes,
  • 1 child in 6 dies before his/her 5th birthday,
  • 1 child in 3 suffers from malnutrition,
  • 1 child in 7 is not enrolled in primary school, 
  • on average, females have fewer than 6 years of formal education (up to grade 6. Maybe.),
  • 9 out of 10 women will suffer the loss of a child in her lifetime

And the average stats hide regional differences. In Chad and Somalia, 1 in 14 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth. In Ireland, the risk is 1 in 15 000. In Angola, Chad and Guinea, less than 5% of women use modern contraceptives, largely because of culture and access problems.

The rest of sub-Saharan Africa doesn't do too well either. As for South Africa? A 1-in-100 lifetime chance of maternal death and 62-in-1000 under-5 mortality rate in spite of doing well on indicators such as female schooling, skilled birth attendants and access to safe water.

Africa is an amazing, huge, multi-faceted place, with incredible people and outstanding potential but right now it is pretty much the worst possible place to be a mother and possibly a woman.

1 comment:

  1. Documentary - "No Women Should Die Giving Birth: Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone" illustrates the problem women face when giving birth in Sierra Leone. One in eight women die giving birth in Sierra Leone as opposed to one in 4000 in developed countries. In a country where over 50% live on less then one dollar a day and a quarter live in extreme poverty, the poorer you are the more likely you are to die giving birth.

    To watch please visit -