Save the Children’s Annual State of the World’s Mothers Report Highlights Critical First Day for Mothers and Newborns

Posted on

By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultant

Surviving the First Day, this year’s edition of Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report is now available. As in past years, this edition features an updated version of the Mothers’ Index, a  ranking of the best and worst countries to be a mother, based on an analysis by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Rankings are based on data on maternal and child survival, along with education, income and political representation of women:  Finland is ranked first and the Democratic Republic of Congo last. In addition, the Mothers’ Index captures data from past reports, illustrating where countries have made progress and where improvements have remained elusive.

This year’s report focuses on infant health, and includes a new feature, the Birth Day Risk Index, which provides a similar ranking of countries based on infants’ chances of surviving the first day, along with data on the survival chances for older infants and children. The report highlights just how critical the first day of life can be for women and their infants, pointing out that not only do first-day deaths account for 36 percent of newborn deaths around the world, but that countries ranked lowest on the Birth Day Risk index also rank among the countries where lifetime risk for maternal death is highest.

From the report:

Somalia has the world’s highest first-day death rate (18 per 1,000 live births). First-day death rates are almost as high in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Sierra Leone (17 per 1,000). These four countries are also incredibly risky places for mothers. Mothers in Somalia and Sierra Leone face the second and third highest lifetime risk of death in the world, respectively.44 In Somalia, 1 woman in 16 is likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth. In Sierra Leone, the odds are 1 in 23. DR Congo and Mali are also among the riskiest places in the world to be a mother.

Throughout, the report highlights key priorities for improving the health and survival chances  of women and newborns, including the critical need to preserve and increase investments in the full spectrum of proven maternal, newborn and child health interventions, and to redouble efforts to ensure that women everywhere have access to high quality emergency obstetric and newborn care, no matter what country they live in.

The report is already garnering significant media coverage, including an NPR story that focuses on the report’s findings regarding the  lifesaving potential of kangaroo care, and a special feature at the Huffington Post’s Global Motherhood section.

To learn more about the report’s findings, join the conversation at #SOWM, and by following Save the Children and the Healthy Newborn Network on Twitter. And, stay tuned: Save the Children, from now through Mothers’ Day on Sunday, May 12, Save the Children, along with partners like the UN Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are holding virtual and in-person events to celebrate and engage moms everywhere, beginning with the Mom+Social Summit  in New York and online tomorrow. To join Mom+Social tomorrow, follow the  #globalmom hashtag on Twitter, or check out the Global Mom Relay