Survival gap between rich and poor grow by 50%

WINDHOEK: The survival gap between the rich and poor in urban areas in Namibia have grown by at least 50 per cent, according to a new global ranking.

Namibia is the 91st worst place to be a mother amongst 179 countries ranked in a new report titled ‘State of the Worlds’ Mothers 2015’ issued and published by Save the Children on Tuesday. Namibia took the 113th spot in 2014.

“The data suggest inequality has also noticeably worsened, while overall survival rates improved, in urban areas of Namibia, Armenia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Survival gaps, in relative terms, between the urban rich and the urban poor in these countries have grown by at least 50 per cent over the period of available data.

But in recent years, the gap between rich and poor urban children appears to have widened to the point that the poorest children may be twice as likely to die as the richest urban children,” the report cautioned.

This year, the index ranked Norway as the best country in the world to be a mother, followed by Finland and Iceland. Somalia ranked last out of the 179 countries in the index, scoring just below the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the southern African region, South Africa took the 72nd position, followed by Botswana (119), Angola (120), Lesotho and Zimbabwe (133), Zambia (139), Swaziland (142) and Malawi (159).

In commemoration of Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on 10 May 2015, Save the Children published its 16th annual state of the world’s mothers’ report with a special focus on the rapidly urbanizing world and the poorest mothers and children who must struggle to survive despite overall urban progress.

The key findings in the index suggested that while great progress has been made in reducing urban under-five mortality around the world, inequality is worsening in too many cities. The poorest urban mothers and children are often deprived of lifesaving health care; the poorest children in almost every city face alarmingly high risks of death; and high child death rates in slums are rooted in disadvantage, deprivation and discrimination.

The report however amongst others suggested that the final post-2015 framework 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; and improve the health of the urban poor by ensuring universal health coverage.

It also suggested that governments should invest in data collection as well as mobilizing resources to end preventable child deaths in poor urban areas.

The index is based on statistics of maternal deaths, under-five mortality rates, schooling, income per capita, and the number of women in government.