State of the worlds mothers 2012
State of the World’s Mothers report 2012: Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days
The focus of the Save the Children 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report is on the 171 million children globally who due to the physical and mental effects of poor nutrition in the earliest months of life do not have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The report using different Indices, ranks countries and shows which ones are doing the best and which are doing the worst at providing nutrition during the critical period of development that starts during a mother’s pregnancy and goes through until a child’s second birthday. The report assesses six key nutrition solutions, including breastfeeding, that have the greatest potential to save lives, and demonstrates how these solutions are affordable, even in the world’s poorest countries.
The indexes employed in the study are: The Infant and Toddler Feeding Scorecard - ranks 73 developing countries on measures of early child nutrition The Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard - examines maternity leave laws, the right to nursing breaks at work and other indicators to rank 36 developed countries on the degree to which their policies support women who want to breastfeed The Mothers’ Index - evaluates the status of women’s health, nutrition, education, economic well-being and political participation to rank 165 countries, both in the industrialized and developing world, to show where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.
The following six principal findings were made by the report:
1. Children in a significant number of countries do not receive adequate nutrition during their first 1,000 days.
2. Child malnutrition is widespread and is limiting the future success of millions of children and their countries.
3. Political will, effective strategies and economic growth are required to fight malnutrition.
4. Global universal coverage of “lifesaving six” solutions identified by Save the Children could prevent more than 2 million mother and child deaths each year. The lifesaving six are: iron folate, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, vitamin A, zinc and hygiene.
5. Health workers are key to success. Frontline health workers have a central role in promoting good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
6. In industrialised countries Norway tops the Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard ranking and the United States is last.
The report puts forward the following recommendations to address the issues identified:
1. Investment in proven, low-cost solutions (the lifesaving six) to save children’s lives and prevent stunting.
2. Investment in health workers, in particular those serving on the front lines, to reach the most vulnerable mothers and children.
3. Assist more girls go to school and remain in school
4. Increase government support for proven solutions to fight malnutrition.
5. Increase private sector partnerships to improve nutrition for mothers and children.
6. Improve laws, policies and actions that support families and encourage breastfeeding.