Wednesday 8 May 2013

Singapore is Asia's best place to be a mother

Channel NewsAsia, 7 May 2013

Singapore is the safest place to be born and the best place to be a mother in Asia, beating competitors Japan, South Korea and Malaysia -- according to children's aid agency Save the Children. Singapore has the lowest first-day mortality rate in Asia, making it the safest place in the region to be born.

The children's aid agency on Tuesday launched its 14th annual State of the World's Mothers report with the first-ever Birth Day Risk Index.

The index revealed that Singapore shares top spot with Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus, Iceland and Luxembourg, at less than 0.5 deaths in the first day per 1,000 live births.

Globally, 6.9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday with a million of those within the first day, making it the most dangerous day in any person's life.

The report also compares 176 countries around the globe, showing which are succeeding and which are failing in saving and improving the lives of mothers and their children.

Singapore is ranked 15th on the best places to be a mother, based on factors such as mother's health, education and economic status, as well as critical child indicators such as health and nutrition. Singapore came in ahead of all Asian counterparts, including Japan (tied for 31st), South Korea (tied for 31st) and Malaysia (70th).

Singapore also led New Zealand, UK and US, but trailed Australia by five spots.

Overall, Finland was declared the best place in the world to be a mother while Democratic Republic of Congo came in last.

Save the Children's Singapore-based regional director, Mike Novell, said: "Singapore is in many ways leading the way on child and maternal health, in Asia and beyond.

"Singapore has proven that recommendations in this report works -- Sufficient skilled health workers for antenatal care, delivery of babies and postnatal support can dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality.

"It can and should serve as a model for other countries still striving to prevent the deaths of millions of mothers and children who die needlessly each year."

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