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UN agency rates Nigeria low in mother-child condition

Posted by By Jamie Dominics, The Sun Reporter, Washington DC. on 2006/05/22 | Views: 381 |

UN agency rates Nigeria low in mother-child condition


President Olusegun Obasanjo's claim that he has significantly improved the standard of living for the average Nigerian and a major justification by his supporters on the need to extend his tenure has been challenged by a damning report on the state of the Nigerian child and mother.

President Olusegun Obasanjo's claim that he has significantly improved the standard of living for the average Nigerian and a major justification by his supporters on the need to extend his tenure has been challenged by a damning report on the state of the Nigerian child and mother.

An influential United Nations affiliated international humanitarian agency, Save the Children, has rated Nigeria as one of the worst countries to be a mother or a child.

The US-based independent global humanitarian organisation released its assessment of one of the key domestic policies of governments in its annual Mothers’ Index that ranks the best – and worst – places to be a mother and a child.

The Index, highlighted, in the organisation’s State of the World’s Mothers 2005 report, ranks the status of mothers and children in 110 countries based on 10 indicators pertaining to health and education. It reveals that where mothers survive and thrive, children survive and thrive.

Scandinavian countries came tops on the rankings of the best places to be a mother, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominate the bottom tier.
"The Mothers’ Index clearly shows that the quality of children's lives is inextricably linked to the health and education of their mothers," said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children, adding: "In countries where mothers fare well, children fare well; in countries where mothers do poorly, children do poorly."

According to the report, Nigeria ranks 84 in the list, behind Jamaica, Vietnam, Namibia, Botswana, Guyana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland , Zambia, Uganda, Ghana , Rwanda and Cameroon.
The report said more than one out of every five children in Nigeria die before his or her first birthday, that 70 percent of the Nigerian population is without safe drinking water, and that 20 percent of children are suffering from malnutrition.

The situation for Nigerian mothers is equally dismal. The report said that two in six mothers die in childbirth; 80 percent of all newborns are delivered without trained health personnel, and 90 percent of women are not using modern contraception to space their births at healthy intervals.

"Conditions for children and mothers in the bottom ranked countries are devastating. Many children are fortunate just to survive the first five years of life and have a chance to go to school," said MacCormack, adding: "But the situation is far from hopeless. World leaders have agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals to fight poverty, save lives and build security by 2015, and these goals can be reached in many poor countries if the United States and other wealthy nations make a more concerted effort to help them. "Humanitarian organisations, like Save the Children are working in partnership with governments to achieve these goals by investing in proven programmes that benefit mothers and children in developing countries. Our 70 plus years of experience on the ground have shown us that effective programmes to improve education and child and maternal health – including family planning – help children to survive and thrive, and enable nations to prosper."

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