Save the Children released 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM) report

The findings of the report provide crucial inputs for the policy makers and the civil society engaged in addressing challenges related to child development in the country.

May 6, 2015 13:00 IST
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Save the Children’s 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM) report titled The Urban Disadvantage was on 5 May 2015 released by the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla in New Delhi.

The report's special focus is on the struggle of poorest mothers and children in rapidly urbanizing world. It presents the Mothers’ Index for 179 countries and show where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.

Important findings of the report
• While great progress has been made in reducing urban under-5 mortality around the world, inequality is worsening in too many cities. In almost half of the countries, the urban survival gaps have grown.
• The poorest children in almost every city face alarmingly high risks of death. In all but one of the 36 developing countries surveyed, there are significant gaps between rich and poor urban children.
• The 10 countries showing the greatest survival divide between wealthy and poor urban children are: Rwanda, Cambodia, Kenya, Vietnam, Peru, India, Madagascar, Ghana, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
• The poorest urban mothers and children are often deprived of life saving health care like access to prenatal care and skilled birth attendance. The largest coverage gaps between rich and poor were found in Delhi (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Port au Prince (Haiti) and Dili (Timor-Leste).
• High child death rates in slums are rooted in disadvantage, deprivation and discrimination.
• Among capital cities in high-income countries, Washington, DC has the highest infant death risk and great inequality. Washington, DC had the highest infant mortality rate at 6.6 deaths per 1000 live births in 2013 which is 3 times the rates found in Tokyo and Stockholm.
• In cities around the world, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children.
• The top five countries showing lower U5MR are: Prague (Czech Republic), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Tokyo (Japan) and Lisbon (Portugal).

Top 10 countries in the Mother Index























 Bottom 10 Countries in the Mother Index




 Haiti & Sierra Leone






 Ivory Coast








 Central African Reblic


 DR Congo



Recommendations of the report
• The final post-2015 framework (Sustainable Development Goals) should include an explicit commitment to equitably ending preventable child and maternal deaths with measurable targets.
• Commit to leaving no one behind by embedding equity in the final post-2015 framework.
• Improve the health of the urban poor by ensuring universal health coverage.
• All governments must follow through on Nutrition for Growth commitments and ensure that the World Health Assembly nutrition targets are met.
• National governments should develop and invest in integrated, cross-sectoral urban policies, strategies and plans that include maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and nutrition, as well as investments in improved access to clean water, sanitation and primary education.
• National governments and donors should invest in strengthening data collection to better identify disadvantaged groups, track quality and use of services and monitor progress against agreed upon plans and targets.
• Mobilize resources to end preventable child deaths in poor urban areas.

The report with respect to India

India is placed at the 140th position in the Mother’s Index which ranks countries on five key factors viz., Risk of maternal death, Under-five mortality rate, Educational status, Economic achievement and Political status.

Further, as per the report, India along with Bangladesh has over half of poor urban children who are stunted compared to 20 percent or less of the wealthiest children and the urban poor are 3.2 times more likely to die compared to the urban rich in Delhi.

In the period between 1990 and 2013, under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) in India declined by 54.4 percent as against the global progress of 44.8 percent.

Globally every 5th child is born in India and any improvement in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of even a single state can positively impact the global situation.

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