Visualizing Inequity in Global Maternal Healthcare
This map is intended to aid in visualizing global maternal health inequity. It includes the top 10 ranking nations in the world, the bottom 10 ranking nations, and the United States of America as a point of reference. I’ve used Save the Children‘s 2015 Mothers’ Index rankings for each country I included in the map. It is important to gain a clear understanding of just how poor the U.S. performs in these rankings amongst other developed nations. Women in the United States face a 1 in 1,800 risk of maternal death, the worst odds of any developed country in the world, according to the report.
To use this map, please click on each highlighted country. Each country is complete with its total Mothers’ Index ranking, lifetime risk of maternal mortality, GNI per capita, and average expected years of education.
The data collected for the Mothers’ Index document the tremendous gaps between rich and poor countries and the urgent need to accelerate progress in the health and well-being of mothers and their children. The data also highlight the role that armed conflict and poor governance play in these tragedies. Nine of the bottom 11 countries are conflict-affected or otherwise considered to be fragile states, which means they are failing in fundamental ways to perform functions necessary to meet their citizens’ basic needs.”*
The 5 Indicators of the 2015 Mothers’ Index
- 1) Maternal health:
Lifetime risk of maternal death: A woman’s risk of maternal death is a result of the number of pregnancies/births she has, the spacing of births, the conditions under which she gives birth as well as her own health and nutritional status. Maternal mortality is also an excellent measure of health system strength, access to quality care and coverage of effective interventions to prevent maternal deaths.*
- 2) Children’s well-being:
Under-5 mortality rate: A mother’s well-being is intimately connected to the health and well-being of her children. It is also a key indicator of the quality of care mothers receive before, during and after pregnancy.*
- 3) Educational status:
Expected years of formal schooling: Education is a basic human right and a powerful determinant of life quality. Numerous studies show an intimate relationship between years of schooling and a number of important life outcomes such as income, health and civic participation. Additionally, when a girl is educated, her children are more likely to be healthy and well schooled.*
- 4) Economic status:
Gross national income per capita: Mothers are likely to use the resources they control to care for their children. GNI per capita is the best measure available to gauge a mother’s access to economic resources and, therefore, her ability to provide for her children.*
- 5) Political status:
Participation of women in national government: When women have a voice in politics, issues that are important to mothers and their children are more likely to surface on the national agenda and emerge as national priorities.*
Urbanization and Health
In an age of rapidly increasing globalization, rural areas are quickly becoming urbanized. Urbanization can have a positive or a negative impact on the health of those that live in the region. Infrastructure improvements that often accompany urbanization such as better access to health services, education, sanitation and safe water supply can improve health. If urbanization is unplanned and rapid, however, it produces crowded regions with insufficient housing and poor sanitary conditions, which can accelerate the spread of diseases and lead to a worsening health status.
The following is my accompanying literature review that addresses the global factors that influence maternal health across the world.
For further information:
Additional Map Images: