Compare The Difference

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When parents have a child in Finland, they don’t have to worry about a huge medical bill. In Liberia, the story is quite different.

Can resource rich Liberia ever emulate the example of Finland a country not as richly endowed as Liberia?

If the Finns can do it we also can. Zero tolerance to corruption not in words but in deeds can constitute the first steps.

Liberia is the 90 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Liberia averaged 102.27 from 2005 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 150 in 2007 and a record low of 75 in 2012

Finland is the 3 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Finland averaged 2.36 from 1995 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 6 in 2009 and a record low of 1 in 2000.

The Finnish state strives to provide both mothers and fathers with meaningful social support before their child is even born – and perhaps not coincidentally, the parents the Guardian spoke with in Finland seemed significantly less stressed than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

When parents have a child in Finland, they don’t have to worry about a huge medical bill. A pregnant woman with no complications can expect to be seen between 11 to 15 times before giving birth for free, and the cost of having a baby is nominal.

Meanwhile, in the US, a delivery alone costs an average $10,000, while a caesarean delivery costs over $15,000, according to the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP). On top of that, for the past 80 years, the Finnish state has also gifted parents with a “baby box”, filled with newborn essentials including a sleeping bag, mattress, outdoor gear, toiletries and playsuits – all in gender neutral colors, of course.

While families can opt to receive €140 instead, 95% of first-timers take the goodies, as they are worth much more. The baby box has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world – it saw only 1.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, compared with the states’ strikingly high rate of 5.82 – not because of the bed itself, but because pregnant women must have a checkup before the end of their fourth month of pregnancy to receive it.

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