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Report Shows Jamaica’s Progress Towards Achieving U.N. MDGs

Jamaica has already achieved some U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets and is “on track” to attain five more, according to a report that mapped the country’s progress toward the MDGs, the Jamaica Observer reports.

According to the report, which was led by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the country has met goals to reduce proportion of people who live below the national poverty line, the proportion of hungry people and the prevalence of underweight children younger than age five.

The targets that are “on track,” meaning that 90 percent of the criteria for achievement has been met, include calls for combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases. According to the report, there has been a general decline in the number of HIV/AIDS deaths and cases, which is likely the result of increased access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

In addition, 92 percent of the population already has access to safe drinking water and 98.9 percent has access to basic sanitation. By 2015, it is possible that everyone in Jamaica will have access to basic sanitation, based on forecasts that account for the current progress, the Jamaica Observer reports.

But without what the report called, “mitigating actions,” the global recession “will negatively impact the achievements in poverty reduction since these have been based on controlled inflation, growth of the informal sector to over 40 percent of the economy, and growth in remittances.”

In addition, “Violence and the numbers of vulnerable youth are likely to increase and together these factors will cause slippage in MDG progress,” the report said.

The report identified progress towards reaching targets related to child and maternal health as “far behind” and it listed this goal as less then 70 percent complete. The national report will be presented to the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the annual ministerial review in Geneva in July (Thompson, Jamaica Observer, 6/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.