Earlier this month, Save the Children’s 11th Annual State of the World’s Mothers Report was released.
The United States did not make the top 10 countries on the list, nor did it land in the top 25. The US was ranked 28th, below most of Western Europe. The authors cite a 1 in 4800 maternal mortality rate (one of the highest in the developed world), as a key factor for our deplorable ranking. The report states that:
a child in the U.S. more than twice as likely as a child in Finland, Iceland, Sweden or Singapore to die before his or her fifth birthday.
The United States continues to neglect mothers by having the “least generous maternity leave policy – both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid – of any wealthy nation.”
So, what can be done to bridge this gap? The report notes that governments “need to increase funding to improve education levels for women and girls, provide access to maternal and child health care and advance women’s economic opportunities.”
Although I applaud the Obama administration for passing a health care reform bill that will allocate $11 billion in new funding to community health centers, in addition to other protections for mothers, an important population was entirely left out of the legislation: undocumented immigrants. Any improvement seen in the conditions for mothers will be lost on this population if we don’t include them in our legislative efforts.
The United States needs to step their game up by giving the mothers and children of our country the adequate care and services they obviously and so desperately need.
By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern