13 May 2003
A new study says nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa are the worst places in the world to be a mother. The countries are Niger, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali, Chad and Angola. The Middle Eastern country of Yemen is also listed among the worst.
The non-governmental organization Save The Children has issued its fourth annual index ranking the status of mothers’ well-being in 117 countries. It shows that where mothers survive and thrive, children do, too. The study found that a mother’s level of education and access to family planning services were most strongly linked to an infant’s survival and well-being.
English to Africa reporter Kim Lewis spoke with Eileen Burke of the Save the Children Foundation, who explained the significance of the study and what the organization is doing to help mothers who have no access to healthcare.
Ms. Burke says poverty and lack of access to health care and education are factors contributing to the high mortality rate among mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa. She says, “If there were more resources, we could reach more mothers and help more children.”
In addition, Ms. Burke said access to family planning, as well as having a birth attendant on hand during delivery, significantly improve the survival rate of both mothers and children.