Singapore best place in Asia to be a mum

PHOTO: Singapore best place in Asia to be a mum

SINGAPORE - Singapore has been named the best country in Asia to be a mother for the second year in a row, in an annual global ranking.

The Republic was 15th worldwide, ahead of 30th-ranked South Korea and Japan at No. 32. It also fared better than the United States (31), in the State of the World's Mothers report released on Monday by the London-based charity Save The Children.

Now in its 15th edition, the report compared the status of mums and their children in 178 countries, based on factors such as maternal health and children's well-being, as well as educational, economic and political status.

Finland kept its position of being the best country in the world to be a mother. It boasts a 42.5 per cent participation rate when it comes to women in national government, among other things.

In comparison, the rate was 25.3 per cent in Singapore.

But Singapore did just as well as Finland in keeping child mortality rates low. In 2012, Singapore saw 2.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births for children under five, the same as Finland.

"Advanced expertise, capabilities and high standards of paediatric care" have helped boost the survival of children here, said Professor Alex Sia, chairman of the medical board of KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

The report noted that in last- placed Somalia, one child in seven does not reach his fifth birthday. In Finland, it was one in 345.

Mother of two Low Mei Lin, 36, said she felt "fortunate" as Singapore is safe and free from problems such as starvation.

Said the business functions director: "I also appreciate that Singapore has a robust technological infrastructure and I can work from home and be productive while caring for my children."

But the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) said Singapore is expected to do well as the report focused on basic conditions of survival.

It did not consider additional support such as universal maternity leave "that state policies and workplace culture can and do give to parents in the wealthy industrialised economies", said Ms Jolene Tan, Aware's programmes and communications senior manager.

This article was published on May 7 in The Straits Times.

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