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Sweden ranks 1st, U.S. 11th on 'Mother's Index'


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States ranks behind Canada, Australia and eight European countries and just ahead of Cuba in a report assessing the well-being of mothers around the world.

Sweden tops the list of 94 countries in the State of the World's Mothers index examining 10 factors related to women's and children's health, education and political status.

Released Tuesday in advance of Mother's Day, the report by the group Save the Children concludes that access to skilled medical care before and during birth and modern contraception are keys to women's well-being, along with expanded educational opportunities and protection from HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence.


"When countries take measures to ensure that mothers are healthy, well-nourished and well-educated, they vastly increase the likelihood that their children will do well and grow into strong, productive members of society," Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children, said in a statement.

In low-ranked Ethiopia, trained medical workers attend just 10 percent of births, 2 percent of women use modern contraception and 118 out of 1,000 children die before their first birthday, the report said. In Sweden, trained health workers attend nearly all births, most women use contraception and just 3 out of 1,000 infants die before age 1.

The report noted the United States' absence from the top 10 as evidence that there's no automatic correlation between a nation's wealth and the welfare of its women and children.

In addition to ranking 11th on the Mother's Index, the U.S. ranked 22 on the Girls' Investment Index, which examines girls' health and education, young motherhood and safe motherhood. The ranking resulted from the high U.S. adolescent pregnancy rate, the report said.

Although teen pregnancy is dropping in the United States, nearly 1 million U.S. girls under age 20 get pregnant each year, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a nonprofit group. Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to receive poor health care and live in poverty, the Save the Children report found.

The document recommends campaigns to demand increased funding for family planning, prenatal and child health care and women's education.

India activists protest to reduce maternal deaths
April 11, 2001
Pregnant teens: Numbers are down but risks are up
May 19, 2000
Clinton calls for international family planning funding without restrictions
April 7, 2000
Global conference focuses on pregnancy-related deaths
April 7, 1998

Save the Children
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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