Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oman not so great for mothers and children

It seems Oman has some way to go on improving the environment for mothers and children. A Save the Children Fund 2009 report lists Oman as the worst in the GCC for mums, with us coming 67th out of 75 countries in the middle grouping of "Less Developed Countries". See the story in the Gulf News.

Critics will be pleased to know that the US was also ranked 27th out of 43 developed countries.

But at least we're getting our own Ikea store.

BAHRAIN is the best country in the Arab region to be a mother or a child, according to a new index by a US-based global humanitarian organisation.

It came 21st out of 75 in the 'Save the Children's Mother's Index 2009 Less Developed Countries', which included all the other Arab countries.

They were divided into more, less and least developed countries.

Other Arab countries considered in the survey included Kuwait (27), Libya (39), the UAE (41), Qatar (43), Jordan (44), Iran (49), Lebanon (49), Syria (58), Egypt (61) and Oman (67).

The index ranks Bahrain as the 25th best country out of 76 for a mother to live, which also makes it the best in the Arab world.

The index also ranks Bahrain as the 14th best country out of 79 for a child to live.

Britain came in 13th and the US in 27th position in the more developed countries category, out of 43 countries.

Philippines came in 42nd, Sri Lanka 54th and India 70th in the less developed countries tier, out of 75 countries.

Nepal and Bangladesh came in 11th and 20th position respectively in the least developed countries tier, out of 40 countries.

The Mothers' Index shows that in Bahrain the lifetime risk of maternal mortality was one in 1,300, a figure much better than in the 2006 report when it was one in 1,200.

Ninety-eight per cent of births were attended by skilled personnel, 31pc of women use modern contraception and female life expectancy is 78 years, according to the report.

However, infant mortality rate has gone up slightly in the latest index, from nine to 10 out of every 1,000 births.

Children under five years suffering from moderate to severe nutritional wasting in Bahrain has almost doubled in the 2009 index, compared to the 2006 index - from 5 to 9pc.

It revealed that only 3pc of government seats were held by women, a reduction of 4.5pc, compared to the 2006 index.

The expected number of years of formal schooling for females in Bahrain was calculated at 16 years.

The key findings of the Mother's Index identify early childhood care and development as a proven and powerful investment in nation's well-being and future economic prosperity.

It reveals that in the developing world, nearly 40pc of all children aged under five fail to reach their potential in cognitive development because poverty, poor health and nutrition and lack of care.

According to the researchers, the future of humankind will be defined by how well mothers today are able to raise their children.

The experts recommend countries to invest in better healthcare for mothers and children and provide coaching and information to help new mothers and fathers give their children the best possible chance to succeed.

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