SINGAPORE: For the second straight year, Singapore has been named the best place in Asia to be a mother, Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation that promotes children's rights, has said.
The Republic came in at 15th position ahead of all Asian counterparts, including Japan (32nd), South Korea (30th) and Malaysia (68th).
Singapore also led New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, but trailed Australia by six spots.
The index is part of the children's aid agency's annual State of the World's Mothers report, now in its 15th edition, comparing 178 countries around the globe, showing which are succeeding -- and which are failing -- in saving and improving the lives of mothers and their children.
Overall, Finland was ranked the best place to be a mother for the second straight year and Somalia came in last.
The report also shows that maternal and child mortality can be dramatically cut when efforts are made to improve services for mothers and children.
In Singapore, lifetime risk of maternal mortality has been cut by 80 per cent, child mortality decreased by 25 per cent, gross national income per capita doubled and percentage of women in parliament increased six-fold over the past 15 years, the report noted.
"Singapore has done well on the index, far ahead of its regional counterparts, with significant cuts in maternal and child mortality, as well as improvements in the percentage of women in leadership positions in the country," said Greg Duly, Regional Director for Save the Children in Southeast and East Asia.
"It proves that with political will, dramatic changes can be made for the well-being of children and women within a short timeframe."
Across Southeast Asia, Myanmar was the worst place to be a mother, while the Philippines, which were tied for 106th with Indonesia last year, pulled ahead to 105th as the latter fell to 113th.
Thailand moved up eight places to 72nd; Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all fell a few spots to 93rd, 129th and 132nd respectively. - CNA/rw
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