The report said the top five countries are Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands with the bottom five in descending order being Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It described the DRC as the toughest place in the world to be a mother whilst Finland ranked the best.
Whilst Nordic countries swept the top spots, for the first time, countries in sub-Saharan Africa took up the bottom ten places in the annual list.
The report, which was released ahead of the Women Deliver 2013 conference to be held in Kualar Lumpur this May and copied to the Ghana News Agency, highlighted the challenges facing mothers and newborns worldwide.
The report put together by the Save the Children, also captured the first ever Birth Day Risk Index, which compared first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries. The numbers though staggering had 1 million babies dying each year on the day they are born.
Unfortunately, two thirds of all newborn deaths occur in just 10 countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
The report said with 98 per cent of all newborn deaths occurring in developing countries, a gap between the health of the world™s rich and poor was persistent and widening.
śNewborn health funding doesn™t match the need. While overseas development assistance for maternal and child health doubled between 2003 and 2008, only six per cent of the funding in 2008 went to activities specifically focused on newborns and only 0.1 per cent targeted newborns exclusivelyť, it added.
The Mothers™ Index is a unique ranking of 176 countries around the globe, showing those that are succeeding and those failing in their support to mothers. It assesses mothers™ well-being using indicators of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women™s income and political status.
The startling disparities between mothers in the developed and developing world were summed up around maternal risk. A woman or girl in DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes including childbirth but in Finland the risk was one in 12,200.
In the DRC, which performed poorly across all indicators, girls were likely to be educated for eight and half years compared to Finland at the top, where girls were expected to receive over sixteen years of education.
The report said śBy investing in mothers and children, nations are investing in their future prosperity. If women are educated, are represented politically, and have access to good quality maternal and child care, then they and their children are much more likely to survive and thrive and so are the societies they live in.
Huge progress has been made across the developing world, but much more can be done to save and improve millions of the poorest mothers and newborns™ lives.ť
The Mothers™ Index ranked United States 30th, behind countries with much lower incomes, such as Lithuania or Slovenia, owing to weaker performance on measures of maternal health and child-wellbeing.
śIn the US, a girl is ten times more likely to die of a maternal cause than a girl Singapore.ť
Singapore itself is ranked 15th, above countries such as Canada (22nd) and the UK (23rd)ť. But the report showed how all countries needed to improve the education and health care of disadvantaged mothers.
The report attributed this to the low-cost interventions that were available to tackle the high rate of baby deaths on the first day of life.
Sub-Saharan Africa remained by far the most dangerous region to be born with the deaths of newborns actually increasing there in the past few decades.
A baby in Somalia, the most dangerous country, is 40 times more likely to die on its first day than a child born in Luxembourg, the safest.
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the poor health of mothers, where between 10 “ 20 per cent are underweight, contributed to high rates of death for babies, as did the number of young mothers giving birth before their bodies have matured. Other factors were low use of contraception, poor access to decent healthcare when pregnant and a severe shortage of health-workers.
The report called for the strengthening of health systems to enable mothers have greater access to skilled birth attendants; fight the underlying causes of newborn mortality; gender inequality and malnutrition; and investing in low-cost solutions to reduce newborn mortality.