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Dec 7, 2012

Millennium Development Goals update show males dropping out

A report on how the country has moved since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals was released today at the University of Belize. The UNICEF report looks primarily at women and children and the findings show a mixed bag. On the positive side more children are being breastfed, more women are in schools but school dropouts among men have increased. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals over a decade ago, the United Nations initiative has been actively pursued by all member states, including Belize.  The eight-point objective for global development involves the reduction of child mortality rates, the achievement of universal primary education, the promotion of gender equality, as well as the empowerment of women.

 

Christine Norton

In 2011, the Statistical Institute of Belize was chartered by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to conduct a study on the situation of children and women within the context of achieving the MDGs.  The exercise is known as a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.

 

Christine Norton, UNICEF Representative, Belize

“It is a survey that tries to put forward a few indicators that will tell us something about the progress that we’ve made in terms of the development of children.  That survey, as I said, began in July of last year in terms of the collection of data, completed by August and we surveyed a total of about four thousand, four hundred plus households.  It is one that looks at everything from child health and education, child protection and some of these areas, of course, are very important to support decision makers here in Belize in terms of trying to understand what progress has been made against commitments made at an international level.”

 

With approximately two years remaining, the Millennium Development Goals require two-thirds reduction in infant mortality rates between 1990 and 2015.  In 2011, there was an estimated fourteen deaths to every one thousand children below a year old.  The likelihood of dying before reaching age five is currently at seventeen per thousand.

 

Elsewhere, the study reflects a steady increase in the number of academic dropouts among males.

 

Turgay Unalan

Turgay Unalan, UNICEF Statistics Specialist

“School attendance, of course, is an important issue and what is interesting about this graph is that the boys, the males seem to be dropping out at a particular age in a very consistent manner.  From about age thirteen or so the boys begin to exit the educational system, according to this graph.  In 2011, the gender parity index, that is the ratio of number of women to number of men in the system was one at the primary level, at the secondary level in 2011 it’s one point two-three.  In other words, there are very many more women attending school, secondary schools than males.”

 

The purpose of the exercise, according to Christine Norton, UNICEF’s country representative, to measure the advancement towards the MDGs locally.  It is the second survey to be concluded worldwide.

 

Christine Norton

“The value of the survey really is about monitoring how much has been done in terms of the investments to advance children’s rights and as a way of responding to the Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit for Children Goals that were framed since back in the 1990s.  And so Belize has taken part in this what is a second mics survey and it is part of a global effort really to ensure that, you know, we have the data necessary to give us a sign of progress but also to help shape programs, policies and interventions to advance rights.”

 

Among the many observations, in reviewing the findings, is an increase in the percentage of newborns that are being breastfed.

 

Christine Norton

“Something like breastfeeding, we can take that as a good example, in 2006 MICS when we look at breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding under six months, there was really ten percent that was exclusively breastfeeding their children.  Today it’s fourteen percent, so that demonstrates that there has been an advance in terms of the efforts made but yet still it’s still fourteen percent, you know, and you need to wonder, we will need to find ways to convey the importance of breastfeeding, not just for the sake of breastfeeding and for early feeding, appropriate feeding for an infant but also because it has a long term effect.”

 

All in all, the survey has indicated that while marked improvement has been made in several of the eight areas under the Millennium Development Goals, as they pertain to women and children, there are others that need urgent attention. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Millennium Development Goals update show males dropping out”

  1. Reel says:

    why we need so many foreigners to report to us about OUR problems. reel colonial mentality.

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