According to Save the Children's latest State of the World's Mothers report, Finland is the best country in the world for mothers. This is a tremendous achievement, but not an accident. There is a wide consensus in Finland that maternal and infant health is a high priority, and our national budget reflects that.
Nigeria is a hard place to be a mom. As a midwife there, I should know. Many women who are in need of medical care there don't get it for a variety of reasons. Either they can't afford it, they live too far from a health facility, or their husbands haven't allowed them to go. Some women literally die waiting for this permission.
My wife jolted me out of a deep sleep at 5 a.m. She mumbled something didn't "feel right." The fear in her voice scared me. Before long, I was donning a pair of scrubs in the delivery room. All the while, clenching my wife's hand, kissing her forehead, and whispering confidently about how we were going to be such amazing parents.
During her pregnancy, every expectant mother has bright hopes for the new life she carries. She may have concerns about her ability to care for a newborn. But depending on where she in the world she lives, her fear may be much deeper and more fundamental: "Will my baby survive childbirth?" Or, "Will I?"
Even more shocking is that more babies die within the first day of life in the United States than any other country in the world. This is not only the highest rate of any industrialized country, it is also 50 percent greater than all other industrialized countries combined. In our own backyard, mothers are experiencing unhealthy pregnancies and deliveries, and babies are dying.
I am a lucky mom. Many moms in developing countries aren't so lucky. In fact, children in an alarming number of countries do not get the nutrition they need from pregnancy to their 2nd birthday-the critical window for ensuring healthy growth and development -according to Save the Children's 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report released today.