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Scandinavian haven for mothers

Washington, May 6 (Reuters): Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the world’s best countries to be a mother while women and their children fare worst in poor African countries such as Niger and Ethiopia, according to a study released today.

In its annual Mother’s index, relief group Save the Children compared the wellbeing of mothers and their children in 117 countries, 43 of which were either experiencing conflict or had emerged from civil strife.

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Finland were ranked in the top five countries respectively for mothers, followed by Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria and the UK.

The US, where Mother’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, ranked 11th on the Mother’s Index.

The study ranked poor countries Niger, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Guinea-Bissau at the bottom of the list along with Angola, Chad, Mali, Yemen, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“One in seven women in parts of Africa will die in childbirth or pregnancy just trying to be a mother, compared to 1 in 6,000 in Sweden,” said Mary Beth Powers, a reproductive health adviser for Save the Children. “No woman should have to die in her effort to become a mother.”

The Index found a mother’s level of education and access to family planning services were most strongly linked to an infant’s survival and wellbeing.

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