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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Singapore safest place to be born in Asia

According to the latest 2013 report by children’s aid agency Save The Children, Singapore is the safest place to be born and the best place to be a mother in Asia.  And I suppose it is true.  Just think about it.  Japan and Indonesia have earthquakes, China has tainted milk powder, Philippines has child abductions and very recently, even Malaysia has unexplained blackouts (you don't want electricity to be cut off in the middle of an operation, do you?).  The most unsavory thing that can happen to a mother and her new born child is perhaps the hospital bill or the realisation that all spots at nearby child care centres were already filled 11 months ago, before the child was even conceived.

Of course, I am just joking.  The rankings are based on the following indicators:

1. Lifetime risk of maternal death
2. Under-five mortality rate
3. Expected number of years of formal schooling
4. Gross national income per capita
5. Participation of women in national government

As Singapore has comparatively high national income and good healthcare, we expectedly had the edge over our Asian neighbours.  However, if you take into consideration other factors such as stress levels, cost of living, government support, availability of childcare infrastructure and the availability of family support, I think Singapore would not be sitting pretty at the top.

In fact, if we looked at our ranking in the report and our low birthrates collectively, the resulting picture would come with the following headline - "Real causes of low fertility among Singaporeans not addressed as Singapore chases higher income and better healthcare standards."

I hope the above report would give our dear leaders some food for thought as they deal with an aging population, and not somehow make it into a performance matrix for the next round of (upward) ministerial pay revisions.


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