Ranked at 78th out of 80 less developed countries, Pakistan is the third worst place for a mother, according to a Save the Children report.
The country also held the fourth place for the most deaths of children under five years of age, and a high child stunting rate of 42%.
The shocking statistics were revealed in a report entitled ‘13th State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM)’ launched by Save the Children on Thursday.
The report highlighted important facts pertaining to malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality across the globe.
According to the report, 58% of households in Pakistan are food insecure, 35 % of deaths of children under the age of five are caused due to malnutrition. Further, 33% of deaths of women are caused due to complications in pregnancy.
Malnutrition is one of the root causes of infant and maternal mortality in Pakistan, affecting the future of health and socioeconomic development and productive potential in the country.
However, the report suggests that trends of breastfeeding indicators are moving in the right direction.
Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased from 23% in 1990/91 to 37% in 2006/07. Between 1990 and 2008, maternal mortality in Pakistan dropped by nearly half, according to the report. While addressing participants at the launch, Dr Saba Gul Khattak, Member Planning Commission of Pakistan, said: Pakistan is far behind in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5.
David Wright, the country director of NGO Save the Children International in Pakistan, said, “The 2012 State of the World’s Mothers shows clearly that this crisis of chronic malnutrition has devastating effects on both mothers and their children.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.