AFGHANISTAN: The central-Asian country is the worst place to be a mom, according to Save the Children. Every year, 50 million women in the developing world give birth with no professional help, and Afghan children face a 1 in 4 risk of dying before age 5. Here, an Afghan girl carries a ration from a food distribution program for her mother in Kabul on April 15, 2010. The mother is a victim of a land mine explosion and a war widow. Dar Yasin/AP
NIGER: On average, 1 in 7 women die during pregnancy or childbirth in Niger. A mother and her baby, seen here in Dogo, Niger, wait for food given by the humanitarian agency GOAL in August 2005. Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/FILE
CHAD: Chad falls into the sub-Saharan region of Africa where mothers and children are especially at risk. One in 11 mothers dies prematurely. A mother and her children head home at Iridimi Refugee Camp in Chad in June 2007. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/FILE
Guinea-Bissau: One in 13 mothers die while giving birth here (compared to 1 in 9,600 in Kuwait). An additional 4.3 million health workers are needed in developing countries to help save lives and meet the health-related UN Millennium Development Goals. Here, a mother feeds her young daughter at the Gabu hospital in Guinea Bissau in February 2002. Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/FILE
Yemen: Lack of government representation and low wages make it especially difficult to be a mother in Yemen. The country’s children also face one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Yemeni school students are seen here denouncing child marriage, as they take part in a protest outside the parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, on March 23. Hundreds women protested in support of a draft law prohibiting marriage under the age of 17. Arab slogans read 'no for killing childhood' and 'Fawzya Abdullah: a victim of underage marriage.' AP
Denmark: Mothers in Denmark enjoy one of the world’s lengthiest maternity leaves - 52 weeks with full pay. The participation of women in government is also high, at 38 percent. This Danish mom from Odense, holds one of her two daughters. Flemming Holm Bergholdt/AP
Sweden: Swedish moms enjoy 68.5 weeks of maternity leave, but at 80 percent pay. The top 10 countries attain very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational, and economic status. Here, a Swedish mother celebrates while her baby naps after Sweden's victory against Hungary at Puskas stadium in September after a qualification match for the 2010 World Cup. Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/FILE
Iceland: The female life expectancy in Iceland of 84 years is second only to Finland (at 85 years), and the 43 percent participation rate of women in national government is second only to Sweden (at 46 percent). Thorgerthur Thorkellsdottir swings while walking with her mother, Anna Runoltsdottir (r.), and uncle Petur Runottsson after stopping their work to seal a sheep barn, in case winds shift and volcanic ash from a volcano erupting across the valley lands on their farm, under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier on April 17. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Australia: The average Australian woman stays in school for 21 years, the highest rate worldwide. The risk of maternal death is 1 in 13,300, which means she is about three times less likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as a woman in America (1 in 4,800 – one of the highest in the developed world). Here, a mother pushes her child in a stroller on Peregian Beach in Queensland, Australia. Newscom
Norway: The Nordic nation tops the list as the world’s best place to be a mom. Skilled health workers are present at virtually every birth, while only 14 percent of births are attended in Afghanistan. A typical Norwegian woman has more than 18 years of education; her Afghan counterpart, just over four. The young Norwegian prince, Sverre Magnus (c.), sits in his mother's arms, Crown Princess Mette-Marit's (r.), as his father Crown Prince Haakon (l.) and his god mother Princess Maxima (2nd l.) of The Netherlands look on during Sverre Magnus's baptism ceremony in the Chapel at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway in March 2006. Tor Richardsen/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/FILE
On Sunday, South African President Jacob Zuma said former president and national hero Nelson Mandela's health was improving. Mandela has been in the hospital for 9 days with a recurring lung infection.
Jason Straziuso, Associated Press /
June 16, 2013
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is engaging with his family and seeing improvement from the recurring lung infection that forced him to spend a ninth day in the hospital Sunday, the president said.