State of the World’s Mothers 2014

6 May 2014 | WORLDWIDE

Save the Children’s 15th annual report on the State of the World’s Mothers focuses on saving children and their mothers whose lives are at risk in times of crisis. It is estimated that each day, an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes. Over half of these maternal and under-5 deaths take place in fragile settings, which are at high risk of conflict and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

The report examines the causes of maternal and child deaths in crisis settings, and suggests urgent actions needed to support mothers who are raising children under some of the most difficult and horrific circumstances imaginable.

In its annual index, the report also shows the places where mothers and children fare best, and where they face the greatest hardships, using the latest data on health, education, economics and female political participation. Looking at trends so far this century, armed conflict, political instability and natural disasters have played a major role in undermining the well-being of mothers and children in the world’s poorest countries. The report also shows that progress is possible, even in countries suffering from devastating humanitarian crises.

Some finding from the report show that:

  • More than 250 million children under age 5 live in countries affected by armed conflict
  • The poorest people suffer most from natural disasters – 95 percent of disaster fatalities occur in developing countries.
  • 56 percent of maternal and child deaths take place in fragile settings.
  • Worldwide, women and children are up to 14 times more likely than men to die in a disaster.
  • More than 80 percent of the high-mortality countries unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for mothers’ and children’s survival have suffered a recent conflict or recurring natural disasters or both.

State of the World’s Mothers report stresses that mothers and children must be placed at the center of national and international processes and that necessary investments must be made in their resilience, health and protection.

The report calls on national governments, donor countries, international agencies, the private sector and civil society to share the responsibility to ensure that mothers and children living in crisis-affected contexts have the best chance to survive and lead healthy lives by:

  • Ensuring that every mother and newborn living in crisis has access to high quality health care
  • Investing in women and girls and ensure their protection
  • Building longer term resilience to minimize the damaging effects of crises on health
  • Designing emergency interventions with a longer term view and the specific needs of mothers and newborns in mind.
  • Ensuring political engagement and adequate financing, coordination and research around maternal and newborn health in crisis settings.