(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

One of world's worst countries for mothers

[Ethiopia] Mother and child.

Ethiopia is one of the worst countries in the world to be a mother, according to a global study by the NGO, Save the Children.

Only Niger and Burkina Faso are ranked worse, according to the annual 'Mothers Index' report released on Tuesday.

In the United Kingdom, one in 5,000 mothers will die in childbirth and only six out of 1,000 infants do not make it to their first birthday.

But in Ethiopia one in nine mothers will die in childbirth. Some 116 children out of 1,000 will die before they reach the age of one.

Eritrea is ranked 14th from bottom of 117 countries, where fewer than five percent of women use modern contraceptives.

The 43-page report found a mother's level of education and access to family planning services were most strongly linked to an infant's survival and well-being.

The index is based on six factors: risk of maternal mortality, women using modern contraception, births attended by trained personnel, pregnant women with anaemia, adult female literacy rate, and participation in national government.

According to the study, over a third of women in Ethiopia and almost half the women in Eritrea can read or write. In Ethiopia, the report added, just eight percent of women participate in national government, compared with a quarter of women in Rwanda or 30 percent in South Africa.

“By providing mothers with three tools - education, economic opportunity, and health care, including access to family planning - we can help them break through the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of their children,” the report pointed out.

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