DEVELOPMENT REPORT - World Mothers Study

By Jill Moss

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

The international support group, Save the Children, has issued a new study on the condition of mothers around the world. The report rates ninety-four countries on issues important to mothers. They include health care and family planning services, the health of their children, education and political involvement.

Sweden, Norway and Denmark were rated the highest, followed by other industrial countries. The United States was rated eleventh. This is just one place ahead of Cuba, which was the highest rated developing country. Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Guinea Bissau were at the bottom of the list.

Beryl Levinger was the leading researcher for the report. Mizz Levinger says the report confirms what Save the Children has been saying for more than seventy years. The lives of children around the world will not improve unless the lives of their mothers improve.

Mizz Levinger says there is a direct link between the health of children and the quality of health care, family planning services and education offered to mothers.

The ten countries rated worst in the study have problems with childbirth. Less than one-third of the births in those countries are attended by trained health care professionals. Also, only three percent of the women use a system to prevent pregnancies. In these countries, one in twelve women die during childbirth. In the top ten countries on the list, the death rate for women during childbirth is only one in six-thousand.

Save the Children says more educational programs for mothers and girls will improve the ability of women to raise healthy babies. The group says millions of lives could be saved if more money was invested in training programs. Mizz Levinger says family planning alone could prevent one-fourth of all deaths among new-born babies and their mothers. It would teach women to wait two or more years between births. In addition, Mizz Levinger says education about the disease AIDS and violence at home are also needed.

The study by Save the Children is part of a new campaign aimed at improving the health and education of mothers around the world. The group hopes to pressure lawmakers to increase international aid for women's programs.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Jill Moss.

Voice of America Special English