The analysis was based on three factors: the number of doctors, nurses, midwives and other health workers per 1,000 residents; the percentage of children vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and the proportion of women who give birth with the assistance of a midwife.
Switzerland occupies the first spot in the ranking according to these criteria, followed by Finland, Ireland and Norway. Cuba is in eighth place – first among Latin American countries, ahead, for example of Germany (10), Russia (11), France (12), the United Kingdom (14) and the United States (15).
Uruguay is ranked 31, immediately ahead of Spain and Brazil, number 35. Mexico (65), Chile (80), Colombia (85), Panama (88), El Salvador (89), Costa Rica (90), Venezuela (93), Ecuador (95), Peru (99) and Bolivia (107) are the other Latin American countries evaluated in the study.
The last five on the list are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Laos, Somalia and Chad. Countries ranked in the last 20 include 13 African nations.
This analysis shows that children in these African countries which lack health professionals "are five times more likely to die than those in higher positions within the ranking," the non governmental agency Save the Children reports.
"Without health care workers, vaccinations cannot be administered, prescriptions cannot be written and women receive no help during childbirth. Illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhea, which are easy to cure, become fatal," the report adds.
The NGO calls on rich countries to increase their financial aid in the area of health care and emphasizes that "on a world scale, two thirds of the resources needed to provide universal access to health care for women and children are lacking."
For the time being, the survival of a child depends on where in the world he or she is born. "No mother should have to watch helplessly as her child grows sick or dies before her eyes, simply because no one is prepared to help," says
Aboubacry Tall, regional director of Save the Children-UK for Central and West Africa, in a communiqué. (PL)