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Afghanistan Now the Second Worst Country for Mothers

Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Being ranked the second worst country in the world for mothers is obviously not something Afghanistan should boast about.

However, the Save the Children survey does have one saving grace: at least Afghanistan is not first on the list as it's been for the past two years.  That distinction now belongs to the African nation of Niger.

In its annual report, Save the Children maintains that Afghanistan has made enough progress in some areas to take the country off the top of the dubious list.

Senior Director for Nutrition Karin Lapping says “more and more we are seeing that there are higher skills of those accompanying women when they are giving birth.  That actually rose by 10 percentage points.  We are also seeing that female life expectancy in Afghanistan is getting better and has gone up almost five years."

On the flip side, Afghanistan remains number one for chronic malnutrition of all countries ranked, while half the population does not have access to safe drinking water.

Tragically, one Afghan woman in 11 dies of pregnancy-related causes, making it the highest lifetime risk of maternal mortality.

In the survey, Norway ranks the best for mothers, while the U.S. moved up six places to 25.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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