Health & Wellness

May 8, 2012

The World’s Best and Worst Places to Be a Mom



GWEN IFILL: We turn now to a new report which ranks the countries where mothers and their children are at the most and the least risk.

The international nonprofit Save the Children finds Norway the healthiest for the third year in a row, the worst, the West African nation of Niger. It replaced Afghanistan, which moved up one spot from last year. The United States ranked 25th.

For more on the report, we’re joined by Save the Children president and CEO Carolyn Miles.

Welcome, Ms. Miles.

CAROLYN MILES, president, Save the Children: Thank you, Gwen.

GWEN IFILL: Give us a sense of what measures you’re using to come up with these rankings.

CAROLYN MILES: Well, we looked at a wide variety of measures, really looking at things like child mortality, maternal mortality, the education of women and girls, economic empowerment of women, even the political involvement of women, because all of those give us a good indicator of the status of women in those countries, which really impacts what it’s like to be a mom there.

GWEN IFILL: So, what. . .

CAROLYN MILES: We also looked at things like maternity leave, so all sorts of factors.

GWEN IFILL: So what’s the difference in the end in the rankings between the top 10 and the bottom 10?

CAROLYN MILES: Well, it’s interesting.

They’re really kind of almost a mirror of each other. So all those indicators I talked with — about are great for the top 10, and they’re all quite poor for the bottom 10. So an example would be if we compare Norway and Niger, as you said, number one and number 165.

So, in Niger, only one in three births are attended by any kind of skilled attendant. And some of these births are actually women giving birth all by themselves, whereas, in Norway, virtually every birth is attended by a skilled birth attendant.

Read More

Watch The Best and Worst Places to Be a Mom on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.