What Are The Millenium Development Goals?

Millenium Development Goals and Why They Matter

At the turn of the millennium, leaders from 189 countries around the world agreed upon eight goals to help eradicate extreme poverty. These targets were designed to be practical, achievable, and to provide the first step towards raising the standard for quality of life for all. The goals represent a challenge to us all, a declaration that we can, one small step at a time, achieve something meaningful and lasting to improve the world we share.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Buldana:

The eight MDGs, and how they relate to issues currently faced in villages involved in the CBHP program


1) Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty:

–Halve between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.
–Halve between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
–Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Poverty is a serious issue in the villages surrounding Buldana. Limited job opportunities mean that even tertiary educated members of the community are often unable to find employment. Severe corruption means that high bribes are required to secure many jobs, or even to access government programs, such as welfare schemes for families below the poverty line.

Poverty results in food shortages, and malnutrition in children under five years old is a serious concern. Resources for the building of basic amenities in the villages, like deep wells for water in the dry season are scarce. During the summer, women in villages surrounding Buldana may walk as long as 4 hours to retrieve water.


2) Achieve universal primary education:

–Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

India is doing moderately well as a whole when it comes to achieving this goal. Primary schooling up to the fourth grade is standard around Buldana, but higher grade schooling is sparsely available, and most parents cannot afford to pay the transport fees for their children to attend middle school, or the school fees themselves for high school. A recent survey of four villages near Buldana shows that only 50% of people aged 15-24 had attended any form of secondary school, and in one village, only 76% of 5-14 year olds attended primary school.


3) Promote gender equality and empower women

–Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

According to the 2011 Buldana census, 89.90% of males are literate, while only 70.24% of females are literate. In one of the project villages, the ratio of boys-to-girls attending primary school was 5:2.

An illiterate woman must rely on her husband or her family to read any information to her, from the newspaper to an official notice. This makes it hard for her to know her rights, and to find out information independently, making it far easier for others to exploit her.

The sex ratio for children aged 0-6 (the number of girls for every 1000 boys) in Buldana is well below the Indian national average, and has drastically declined since 2001. This implicates the practice of female infanticide, in which female babies are killed at birth, usually by suffocation or by abandonment. Female infanticide, like child marriage, stems from a cultural attitude towards women which can be changed. 


4) Reduce child mortality

–Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

The mortality rate of children under 5 in India is 66 per 1000 live births (2009 data). According to AUSAID, India is not on track to achieve this MDG.


5) Improve maternal health

–Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.

In many villages girls as young as 14 are expected to be married. The legal age of marriage in India is 18, but enforcement in remote villages is almost non-existent, and social pressure means that child marriage is still common practice. These girls are often married to men who are far older than they are, and a girl who is married young is far more likely to have complications during pregnancy and childbirth, as her body is not yet sufficiently mature.

The maternal mortality rate in India is 230 per 100,000 live births (2009 data). According to AUSAID, India is not on track to achieve this MDG.


6) Combat HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases

–Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
–Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
–Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

The stigma surrounding HIV means that many men and women go undiagnosed. Men and women alike risk losing their jobs, and may become completely ostracised from society if their community finds out about their disease.


7) Ensure environmental sustainability

–Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
–Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

In villages surveyed in Jan 2012, 78-95% practiced open air defecation, even when public toilets were available. Inadequate sanitation presents a serious health risk to the villagers, especially in the rainy season, when diarrhoeal disease is rife.


8) Develop a global partnership for development

–In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication.

For primary healthcare to be effective and viable, knowledge of positive health practices needs to be made available to all. CBHP is committed to providing villages with the understanding of basic healthcare, by training and equipping Village Health Workers.



United Nations official website: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
AusAid: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/countries/southasia/india/Pages/home.aspx
Buldana Census 2011: http://www.census2011.co.in/census/district/338-buldana.html
Independent survey by Conceive Health Audit team

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