State of the World’s Mothers

This year in developing countries 8.8 million children will die before their fifth birthday and 50 million women will give birth to babies without professional help—343,000 of them will also die. The primary reason for their deaths is because in these poverty-stricken nations there are not enough healthcare workers to give assistance to mothers and their children. In their 11th annual State of the World’s Mothers report, Save the Children has focussed on this critical shortage of healthcare workers.

Among the key findings in the report, Save the Children found that in particular frontline female healthcare workers contribute to dramatic reductions in maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates. In countries where more female workers are sent to rural communities they have also seen a rise in immunization rates and a decline in malaria rates.

African mother and childWorking to save the lives of so many may seem to fly in the face of the United Nations’ World Population Prospects which estimates unsustainable human population growth over the next 90 years, but in reality addressing maternal health can also work towards addressing over-population. The World Mothers report also found that in countries where women had better healthcare support couples were more inclined to be using modern contraceptives. Investing in girls’ education also pays off – as better educated women tend to marry later in life and have fewer and healthier children.

Save the Children’s objective is just that, to save children, but their report brings important attention to the complex issues facing all humanity. We are compelled to care for and support the continued growth of our race, but it is clear that we must manage our population growth in a responsible and thoughtful way to ensure environmental balance and sustainability. And the best way to achieve this is through cooperation among governments, NGOs, and international organizations like the UN.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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