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Progress in Many Areas But Gambia Still Short on MDG Targets

Sep 4, 2008, 5:16 AM | Article By: By Abba A. S. Gibba

The Executive Summary of the report on the level of achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicates that, although The Gambia has made significant strides, much more needs to be done to achieve the MDG's in its entirety.

The MDG's became the global development framework following the Millennium Conference and Declaration in 2000. A total of 8 goals, 18 targets, and 48 indicators were identified to measure progress from 1990-2015, though these were revised in 2006.

The Assessment of level of achievement of the MDG's was undertaken in order to determine the status of the MDG's; both existing and the new or revised indicators and targets introduced recently.

The report further concluded that The Gambia's status vis-a-vis MDG's is mixed, with significant progress in some areas whilst in others, progress has been slow and the country is not likely to meet the targets by 2015, unless there are accelerated efforts both in term of resource availability and programme implementation.

The report states that with respect to goal 1 on eradicating poverty, the target of reducing poverty to 15 per cent is unlikely to be achieved given that the prevalence of poverty is still very high (58 per cent in 2003).

However good progress has been registered in the area of reducing hunger; the targets for reduction in prevalence of underweight children are most likely to be achieved before 2015. With respect to goal 2 on universal primary education; the MDG targets have been almost achieved. Primary school completion rate is 96.6 per cent and literacy rate is 62.9 per cent, the target for literacy is 72 percent.

With respect to goal 3 on gender equality and women empowerment the country has already surpassed the targets for gender parity in primary school, thanks to the efforts of President Jammeh in enhancing girls' education.

For goal 4 on reducing children mortality, the country is said to be on track with respect to reduction of under 5 and Infant Mortality whilst immunisation targets have almost been achieved; currently it is 92.4 percent against a target of 100 percent. Achievements with Goal 5, improving Maternal Mortality are mixed. Maternal Mortality still remains high, 556 per 100, 000 live births and the target is to reduce it to 263. The target for births attended by skilled health personnel has almost been achieved; 57 percent currently, compared to target of 63 percent. The Antenatal coverage target has almost been achieved; 96 percent currently and the target is 100 percent by 2015.

With respect to Goal 6; combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS continues to be low (below 3 percent) whilst condom use and comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS continue to increase. Use of insecticide nets and malaria treatment for under-fives are quite high, noting that The Gambia has one of the highest coverage rates in the world.

Progress on targets for environmental sustainability; Goal 7 has also been quite impressive especially with respect to forest cover and access to clean water and sanitation.

Thus overall, the country faces problems in achieving the MDG's but mainly with income poverty related indicators, progress with non income poverty is much better.