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Australia 2nd Best Country for Mums

7 May 2010 No Comment

04 May 2010 | 11:07:43 AM | Source: AAP

Australia is the second best country in the world to be a mum but it’s a different story for children, a new report has revealed.

On the eve of Mother’s Day celebrations, the annual Save the Children report places Australian mothers second only to Norway on key economic, education and health scores.

With an average life expectancy of 84 years and an expected average 21 years of formal schooling, it says Australian women are well placed to give their children the best chance of survival, at least by international standards.

But the report highlights the difference in child mortality rates among Aboriginal children compared with their white counterparts, with three times more indigenous children dying before their fifth birthday.

Save the Children’s Dr Annie Pettitt, who specialises in child rights, said that while Australia’s report card was encouraging, more maternal health workers were needed to cut the child mortality rates.

“An important first step would be to tackle the shortfall of almost 2000 midwives in Australia, especially in remote and rural areas where we know the shortage is greatest,” she said in a statement.

“It would be great if every pregnant mother had access to a midwife or doctor and every sick child had the option to see a doctor in a clinic, but in developing countries around the world, and even in Australia, that is not the reality.

“Without putting more women on the front lines of health care provision, the world will never overcome the extreme shortages that are deadly for many children and women.”

The report also highlights war, violence and lawlessness as critical barriers to the well-being of mothers and their children.

In the 10 bottom-ranked countries, women face disadvantage at every level, with little education, low income ratios to men for equal work, and a high likelihood of losing at least one child.

It says that in Afghanistan fewer than 15 per cent of births are attended by trained health workers in a country where women earn 25 cents or less for every dollar men earn, and where a typical woman receives less than five years of formal education.

The State of the World’s Mothers report points out that the troubled country has seen a 20 per cent drop in maternal deaths between 2000 and 2008 as a result of a government-funded midwife program.

Despite this, Afghan women face a one in eight lifetime risk of dying of pregnancy-related causes, compared with one in 13,300 in Australia.

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