India drops in global motherhood index, ranks behind Zimbabwe and Iraq

India has slipped further in an annual survey analysing the world's best places to be a mother, dropping to 140th from 137 last year behind countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Iraq

London: India has slipped further in an annual survey analysing the world's best places to be a mother, ranking 140th behind countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Iraq.

Save the Children's 'State of the World's Mothers' report for 2015 ranked India at 140, down from last year's 137th, on an index of four indicators that measure risk of maternal death, under-five mortality rate, expected number of years of formal schooling, the gross national income per capita and participation of women in government.

Researchers compiled the index of 179 countries by using data from UN agencies to show where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.

This year, as last, the top of the table was dominated by European countries, with Norway replacing Finland at pole position while Somalia remained last for the second year in a row according to the survey released on Monday evening.

According to Save the Children, Indian children on average spend 11.7 years in formal schooling and 52.7 out of 1,000 children in India die before their fifth birthday.

The report found that children living in Delhi were among the most unequal with large gaps between health provision for the poorest and the richest.

"While private high-quality sector health facilities are more plentiful in urban areas, the urban poor often lack the ability to pay for this care," the authors said.

"Public sector health systems are typically under-funded, and often fail to reach those most in need with basic health services.

"In many instances, the poor resort to seeking care from unqualified health practitioners, often paying for care that is poor quality, or in some cases, harmful," they said.

The US ranked 33rd and the UK 23rd.

While women in the US have a one in 1,800 lifetime risk of maternal death -- the worst performance of any developed country in the world, women in Britain are more than twice as likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth as those in Poland, Austria or Belarus.

In a ranking of child survival in 25 capital cities in the world's wealthiest countries, Washington DC came last. The next worst were Vienna in Austria and Bern in Switzerland.

All but two of the 11 bottom-ranked countries in the world are in west and central Africa.

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