Reaching Out to People: Achieving Millennium Development Goals through Innovative Public Service Delivery
Research Paper (undergraduate) 2010 10 Pages
The Millennium Declaration at the U.N in 2000 set ambitious targets to be achieved by 2015 against global poverty and hunger, illiteracy, gender inequality, child and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. However, there are several constraints and challenges in meeting these goals. The challenges are primarily of resources, infrastructure and the delivery mechanism. They are inter-related and the successful accomplishment of the MDGs calls for concerted efforts at addressing these challenges together. In other words, sound delivery mechanism can only be built on a strong infrastructure which again is not possible in the absence of adequate finances. A temporary aid over several years if utilized optimally can lead to permanent rise in productivity. In agriculture, the experience shows that with little cost of inputs in terms of fertilizer and high yielding varieties of seeds, the return is spectacular. For nations like India or even the other developing nations, healthcare challenges must be met through innovative science and technology mediated public delivery mechanism. Innovative approaches like e-health, m-health and telemedicine has the potential for improving seemingly intractable problems in health care provision such as limited access and uneven quality of care, as well as those attributed to cost. ICT could be used in fighting against sexually transmitted diseases and maternal and childcare through the dissemination of information and sensitization. However, ICT alone cannot provide the healthcare delivery, therefore, the best strategy in meeting the healthcare goals is to adopt an all inclusive approach in the strategic alignment of ICT and healthcare stakeholders.
Key Words: Millennium Declaration, MDGs, U.N, Public Service Delivery, ICT
The MDGs were approved through the Millennium Declaration at the United Nations in September 2000. The First seven MDGs can be conveniently grouped into three categories, while the eighth MDG relates to the development of global partnership for development. The first MDG is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. There are two targets that monitor the progress. The first is to reduce extreme poverty by half between 1990 and 2015. The progress towards these goals is measured at the international level with the poverty measures based on a Purchasing Power Parity adjusted poverty line of one US dollar per day. The second target is to reduce by half the share of the population that suffers from hunger. The indicators for this target are the prevalence of malnutrition, as well as the estimates of the share of the population without adequate dietary energy consumption.
The next two MDGs are to achieve universal primary education and to promote gender equality. The target for full primary education is the completion of a full course of primary schooling by boys and girls alike. There are three indicators to measure progress – the net enrolment ratio in primary education, the proportion of pupils starting grade1 who reach grade 5 and the illiteracy rate of 15-24 year-olds. The target for gender equality and empowerment of women is the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and for all levels of education by 2015. The four indicators suggested for monitoring progress overtime are the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education, the ratio of literate females to males of 15-24 year olds, the ratio of women to men in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector, and the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.
The fourth and fifth MDGs are essentially to reduce child and maternal mortality. The targets for child mortality are to reduce by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. The under 5 mortality rates with three indicators are the under 5 mortality rate, the infant mortality rate and the proportion of one year children immunized against measles. The targets for maternal mortality are to reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015 while the maternal mortality ratio has two indicators – the maternal mortality ratio itself and the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel. The sixth MDG is also related to health: it consists in combating and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases. The seventh MDG is to ensure environmental sustainability. While there are many indicators here, an important one consists in halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water (Jayasuriya & Wodon, 2003).