The Safest Place in the World to Raise Children

I’m sitting on a hospital bed, Tyson (nearly 4) writhing in pain beside me. It’s a public hospital but we have our own room, shower, toilet. I even have a bed beside his, although he insists I sleep next to him. He’s scared and so am I.

On Thursday night, we showed up at the Emergency Department at our local hospital. Tyson had a nasty rash, fever and pain all over his body. The nurse assessed him and we were swiftly escorted into the ward. We’d discovered a tick on his back that evening. The doctor examined him thoroughly; ‘ticks don’t cause a rash like this,’ he said.

Blood and urine tests taken and we were escorted to the Pediatric ward for the night. We were asked to stay in our room to avoid the risk of infecting other patients (just in case).

Lying next to Tyson as his hot little body writhed and groaned, I didn’t know what else to do, so I just prayed.

His temperature kept rising and the nurses kept checking in. His rash was red and angry and hot to touch. Not like anything I’d seen before.

The test results arrived confirming a virus crossed with a severe allergic reaction to the tick and antibiotics were administered. Within hours, Tyson was sitting up in bed and laughing with his little brother the next morning.

We were discharged at 11am and free to go. No charge! I can only imagine the actual cost of that level of care from a dedicated team of Doctors and nurses. I am forever grateful.

Just across the sea another mother, who, just like me, would give her last breath to save her child, holds him while he writhes in her arms. He will never see a doctor. He won’t get antibiotics and she will bundle him close as he takes his last breath. Helpless. Powerless.

Save the Children have just published their 15th Annual ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ report. The focus is on millions of women and children living in fragile communities beset by conflict and natural disasters, and their everyday struggle to survive.

In this report, Save the Children examines the causes of maternal and child deaths in crisis settings, and suggests urgent actions needed to support mothers who are raising the world’s future generations under some of the most difficult and horrific circumstances imaginable.

President & CEO of Save the Children USA said: ‘Any mother, anywhere – myself included – will do anything to protect her children. From their very first breath, we promise to keep our babies safe from harm – we tell them they can count on us. And when disaster strikes, it’s more difficult and more important than ever to keep that promise.’

So, where IS the best place to be a mother? According to this report, Finland ranked in at number 1, followed by Norway & Sweden.

Australia & Belgium tied for 9th place. I was shocked to find the USA at number 31! Somalia came in last place.

The vital statistics: More than 250 million children under age 5 live in countries affected by armed conflict.(8) The poorest people suffer most from natural disasters – 95 percent of disaster fatalities occur in developing countries.(9) 56 percent of maternal and child deaths take place in fragile settings.(10) Worldwide, women and children are up to 14 times more likely than men to die in a disaster.(11) The average refugee situation lasts 17 years.(12) For every person killed directly by armed violence, between 3 and 15 die indirectly from diseases, medical complications and malnutrition.(13, 14) On average, countries in conflict have less than half the minimum number of recommended health workers.(15) More than 80 percent of the high mortality countries unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for mothers’ and children’s survival have suffered a recent conflict or recurring natural disasters or both.(16)

Visit savethechildren.org to see the full report.

*Photo courtesy of Save the Children

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