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Africa, Asia Most Difficult Places To Be A Mother, Save The Children Report Finds

“A new report [released on Tuesday] by Save the Children gauges and ranks the conditions for mothers in almost every country in the world,” the Washington Post reports (Fisher, 5/8). “This year, the index calls attention to child survival in addition to maternal health,” Humanosphere notes (Murphy, 5/7). “Nearly three million babies die within the first month of life — more than one million on the same day they are born — largely from preventable causes,” according to the report, GlobalPost writes, adding the report “noted that reducing newborn deaths will be critical to moving towards the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that aims to cut child deaths by two-thirds by 2015.” The news service notes, “The highest newborn mortality rates were in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of newborns who died each year slightly increased in that time period” (Miley, 5/7). According to the report, “Eight of the 10 worst nations in which to be a mother are in West and Central Africa,” the Thomson Reuters Foundation adds.

“In East Asia and the Pacific, the region’s impressive economic growth has yet to translate into better wellbeing for all mothers and their children, the report said,” Reuters notes (Hussain, 5/7). “In terms of absolute numbers, the most first-day [newborn] deaths occur in India — more than 300,000 per year, the report said,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 5/7). “India also records the highest number of global newborn deaths,” Devex notes, adding, “These figures highlight the challenges that persist in India and many other parts of the world in ensuring children live beyond the age of five, like inequality in health service delivery, shortage of health workers, rapid urbanization and policies that prohibit the use of effective interventions such as Kangaroo Mother Care, says Save the Children India CEO Tom Chandy” (Ravelo, 5/7). “Overall, the report cites four interventions that could really make a difference in newborn death rates,” including using chlorhexidine to cleanse umbilical cords, steroid injections for women undergoing preterm labor, resuscitation devices, and injectable antibiotics to treat newborn sepsis and pneumonia, Time’s “Healthland” blog states (Sifferlin, 5/7).