DR Congo worst place for pregnant mothers to give birth, says Save the Children report

DR Congo worst place for pregnant mothers to give birth, says Save the Children report

Mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has once again been fingered for its poor quality of life and deteriorating living standards and infrastructure, as the country is ranked the worst place in the world for pregnant mothers to give birth.

The Save the Children report, Surviving the First Day – State of the World’s Mothers 2013 released last week, paints a bleak picture of sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant mothers are likely to die at childbirth. Sub-Saharan Africa’s pregnant mothers have one chance out of 30 to die while giving birth, and their new-born babies have less chance of surviving.

The 10 worst of the worst countries are all in sub-Saharan Africa, where the countries have performed poorly on all indicators. “Conditions for mothers and their children in these countries are devastating,” the report said.

“The birth of a child should be a time of wonder and celebration. But for millions of mothers and babies in developing countries, it is a dance with death,” the report said, adding that every year nearly 3 million babies die within the first month of life, most from preventable causes.

More than a third of these babies die on their first day of life – making the birth day the riskiest day for newborns and mothers almost everywhere, Save the Children said.

Every year, the UK-based charity organisation releases a report which indexes the chance of death in pregnancy, the state of the country’s maternal health, child mortality, education, women’s income and women’s political status.

The DRC, consecutively ranked last by the United Nations Development Progamme’s Human Development Index (HDI), appears to have the worst basic healthcare system in the world. Poorly-paid medical staff leave for greener pastures and government fails to invest in the sector, leaving citizens to gamble with death, and millions of Congolese to flee and go abroad to seek social relief.

Save the Children United States President and CEO Carolyne Miles said when a child is placed into his mother’s arms for the first time, that woman’s life is changed forever. “The moment is brief and precious. We must seize the opportunity to invest in this most basic, most enduring partnership – between a mother and her child – if we are to change forever the course of history and reduce newborn deaths.”

Here is the list of the world’s top 10 countries, having the best safety records of maternal health:

1. Finland
2 Sweden
3 Norway
4 Iceland
5 Netherlands
6 Denmark
7 Spain
8 Belgium
9 Germany
10 Australia

The world’s worst of the worst, where new-born babies and pregnant mothers are in danger of dying are:
167. Cote d’Ivoire
168. Chad
189. Nigeria
170. Gambia
171. Central African Republic
172. Niger
173. Mali
174. Sierra Leone
175. Somalia
176. DR Congo

*Photo: The Common Ground.

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