Zambia has now been ranked 145 out of 178 countries in the world as one of the worst places to be a mother, according to the 2014 report published by Save the Children, an international Non-governmental organization concerned with welfare of children.
With that ranking, Zambia is even worse than economically ravaged Zimbabwe that is ranked 141 while formerly war torn countries like Rwanda is ranked far better than Zambia at 121.
At the ranking of 145, Zambia is probably the only country in that category but that has never been in civil war and only beats war torn Afghanistan by one place which is ranked 146.
In the same report that looks at issues such as maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women’s income and political status, Somalia has ranked the worst place to be a mother.
The State of the World’s Mothers report, published by Save the Children on Monday, calls for more action to protect mothers and children in crisis-hit areas.
Somalia came bottom of the global rankings, although only narrowly below the Democratic Republic of Congo, the lowest ranking country last year, followed by Niger, Mali and Guinea-Bissau.
Australia is tied with Belgium as the ninth best place to be a mother, the report says. Finland, Norway and Sweden top the list.
Save the Children International’s chief executive Jasmine Whitbread said it is no surprise that the 10 toughest places to be a mother in this year’s index all have a recent history of armed conflict and are considered to be fragile states.
Worst places to be a mother
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Central African Republic
- Sierra Leone
- Côte d’Ivoire
Source: Save the Children
“The poorest mothers have it the hardest,” Ms Whitbread said.
“The report once again points out the disheartening disparity between mothers in rich and poor countries.”
The charity estimates that 800 mothers and 18,000 young children are dying around the world every day from largely preventable causes.
Almost a third of child deaths are found in West and Central Africa, while another third occur in South Asia, where high mortality rates are increasingly concentrated in socially-excluded communities.
Report shows shift in ranked countries
Afghanistan was the worst place to be a mother three years ago, but it is now ranked 146th due to progress in cutting child and maternal death.
By contrast, Syria has slumped from 65th place in 2011 to 115th in 2014, after the conflict caused “the collapse of what had been a functioning health system, and threatens to set back progress by a generation”, the report says.
More than 60 million women and children needed humanitarian assistance this year, the report says.
Top of the list of the charity’s recommendations is improving access to high quality healthcare, but it also emphasises the benefits of investing in women’s education and economic empowerment.
Source: Save the Children.