'India Fourth Worst in Maternal Care'

New Delhi: India is the fourth worst place to be in for mothers among 80 less developed countries, the annual State of the World's Mothers report said here.

While the country remained static on mother's index of NGO Save the Children, the report noted some countries in Asia have made progress in the last one year in improving the conditions of their mothers.

The global flagship report analysed countries in three categories - least developed, less developed and developed. India ranks 76th among 80 "less developed countries" in the world. India scored the 75th position among 77 less developed countries in 2011.

"Even though India has made efforts to improve maternal health by encouraging institutional deliveries and taking other measures, the benefits have not yet appeared to bring about a shift," said Thomas Chandy, Chief Executive Officer at Save the Children India.

The 13th annual report, released as a prelude to the Mother's Day Sunday, ranks the state of mothers worldwide by studying the performance of women on indices such as maternal mortality rate, percentage of women using modern contraception, female life expectancy at birth, educational status of women, healthcare received by pregnant women, post-natal care and participation of women in government, among others.

"This report shows that even now almost half of our births take place in the absence of skilled health personnel. This has a direct bearing on mothers' health and, due to the strong dependence of children on mothers, also on children's health," Chandy said.

Drawing a comparison with other less developed nations, the report says India underperformed on all indicators of the index, barring contraceptive prevalence and access to safe water.

The country has the highest rate of malnutrition among 80 less developed countries with 43 percent of under-five children underweight. The growing economy's rate of skilled birth attendance was the 5th lowest among 80 countries, the report revealed.

"India's poor performance on female education placed India among the bottom 10 among less developed countries," it said.

In Asia, while Bangladesh and Nepal were rated as 'good' for their practices on infant and toddler feeding, Afghanistan and India were rated as 'fair' and Pakistan and Vietnam as 'poor'.

Source: IANS