Rome (Fides Service) - Pregnancy and childbirth in adolescence are often the cause of death in developing countries. The fifth annual State of the World’s Mothers report issued by Save the Children, a leading U.S.-based global independent humanitarian organisation. includes this year for the first time a list of countries where children having children is most perilous
More than 1 million infants - and an estimated 70,000 adolescent mothers - die each year in the developing world because young girls are marrying and having children before they are physically ready for parenthood,
The report lists 50 countries where early motherhood is a risk for mother and child. The first nine are in Africa with Nigeria, Liberia and Mali at the top of the list. In the top ten countries, according to the report, more than 1 in 6 teenage girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year and nearly 1 in 7 babies born to these teenagers die before age 1
In Bangladesh the risk of death at childbirth among girls aged 10 to 14, is five times greater than for their mothers who were aged between 20 and 24 anni, and the same is true in Afghanistan, Nepal, Yemen, Guatemala, Haiti and Nicaragua.
With regard to the mothers, girls in their teens in poor countries are twice as likely to die from pregnancy- and childbirth- related causes compared with older women. Girls 14 and under face even greater risks.
In the report the 5th edition of Mothers’ Index, gives a list of countries in favour of maternity produced by Save the Children taking into consideration relatively 119 countries, main indicators of mother’s health, education and political status.
Sweden in top of the list and Nigeria is bottom. There follow Denmark, Finland, Austria, Holland, Norway, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States. At the bottom of the list above Nigeria: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Central Republic African Centro, Mauritania.
A mother in one of the ten countries at the bottom of the list compared to a mother in one of the first ten countries at the top of the list, is 26 times more exposed to the risk of seeing her child die before the age of 1 and 750 times more exposed to the risk of dying during childbirth. In these same countries 1 out of 3 children does not go to school and one 1 of 4 women cannot read or write.
For example in Sweden, at the top of the list, more than 99% of women have received an education. On the contrary, in Nigeria, only 9% of women went to school: a mother in Ethiopia has 38 more chances seeing her child die before the age of 1, than a mother in Sweden.
Among the main recommendations to reduce the cases of maternity among adolescents, Save the Children signals the need to provide education for girls and set up health care services for possible future mums. (AP) (7/5/2004 Agenzia Fides; Righe:41; Parole:561)