Millennium Development Goals 4 And 6: History, Progress And Possible Outcomes Research Papers Examples
In an attempt to systematically target the weak points of various countries worldwide that hinder them from progress and sustainability, the Millennium Development Goals were formed by United Nations from the Millennium Declaration of 2000 in September 2001 (Fehling, Nelson, and Vankatapuram, 2013; Bryce, Black, and Victora, 2013). The Millennium Development Goals, commonly abbreviated as MDGs, are eight (8) objectives established by the UN to target and address the main problems of countries worldwide (Fehling et al., 2013; Bryce et al., 2013). Those eight (8) MDGs or objectives: (1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, (2) achieve universal primary education, (3) promote gender equality and empower women, (4) reduce child mortality, (5) improve maternal health, (6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, (7) ensure environmental sustainability, and (8) develop a global partnership for development, are set as benchmarks to measure the overall performance a country has made from 1990 to 2015 (United Nations Development Programme, 2014; Bryce et al., 2013). Among the eight (8) MDGs, the ones that are largely related to health, the MDG 4 and 6, are of utmost importance in determining the success or failure of the whole concept of MDGs.
Generally, the concept of MDGs is to improve the performance and condition of countries globally by establishing eight (8) core objectives on which every country must focus itself in order to perform better and improve its ability to sustain itself in the long run. While it is true that MDGs have been somewhat effective in encouraging and promoting substantial changes in most countries worldwide, especially in their targeted areas, the initial estimated results for each goal in the year 2015 are now becoming clearly harder to achieve as the target year approaches (Bryce et al., 2013). Such inability of the MDGs to yield their aimed results stems from numerous erroneous issues that were overlooked upon their establishment in 2001 (Fehling et al., 2013). One such issue is the existence of incapacitating limitations that come intrinsically from the framework of MDGs (Fehling et al., 2013). As explained by Fehling et al. (2013), the very framework of MDGs may reinforce the presence of limitations that hinder the full execution of possible interventions and other solutions that will help in bringing the eight goals into materialization. Such limitations that may be connected to the framework of MDGs are (1) limitations in the MDG development processes, (2) limitations in the MDG structure, (3) limitations in the MDG content, and (4) limitations in the MDG implementation and enforcement (Fehling et al., 2013). Limitations in the MDG development processes largely include the poor involvement of developing countries in the establishment of MDGs in 2001 (Fehling et al., 2013). As the entire creation of MDG was initiated and largely influenced by the top third-world triad, United States, Europe and Japan, and co-sponsored by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or OECD, the primary concerns that influenced the establishment of MDGs and the relatedness of such concerns to the common problems faced developing countries are suspected to be unparallel—a limitation that is well supported by the fact that only 22% of the world’s national parliaments have guided the formulation of MDG, making its development controversially underscored (Richard et al., 2011 as cited in Fehling et al., 2013). Therefore, the questions of “who identified the goals and targets, how and why certain goals were chosen and what political agendas [actually] influenced the structure of MDGs” have become the source of critical discussion pertaining to the matter (Fehling et al., 2013, p. 1111).
Aside from the limitations in the MDG development processes, limitations in the MDG structure also discourage the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals. The narrowing of global problems into eight (8) distinct, individual issues are seen by many authors as the unconstructive omission of other important issues that need urgent attention and an “underinvestment in other key areas of development” (Keyzer and Van Wesenbeeck, 2006 as cited in Fehling et al., 2013, p. 1114). Furthermore, the structure of MDGs is considered by many authors to be “too ambitious for some countries and not challenging enough for other countries,” therefore resulting in the inability of low- and middle-income countries to achieve such global goals (Langford, 2010 as cited in Fehling et al., 2013, p. 1114). Also, the structure of MDGs makes little room for national baselines context and implementation capacities to be considered—a limitation that largely inhibits poor and developing countries from acquiring the aimed outcomes of the goals (Fehling et al., 2013).
Limitations in the content of MDGs are another incapacitating issue with the global goals. Since the goals are narrowed down and some other issues of great importance that need immediate attention and response are omitted, there is no wonder that the contents of MDG’s are unable to address the all that concern countries worldwide (Fehling et al., 2013). One fine example of this limitation is the exception of the poorest of the poor by using standards based on national averages that apply to a certain country but not in others (Fehling et al., 2013).
Lastly, the limitations in the MDG implementation and enforcement caused by the inconsistent reliability and availability of data are also a challenge to the MDG (Fehling et al., 2013). Such inconsistencies with the data needed to record the progress of MDGs often results in poor and wrong interpretation of progress reports (Fehling et al., 2013), therefore obstructing the possibility of yielding transparent results. With such challenges faced by the MDGs, there is actually no doubt why more countries would be unable to achieve the desired results of the global goals as compared to those which would achieve them completely in 2015 (Bryce et al., 2013). Further analyzing the MDGs and their tendency to succeed or fail, it will be important to examine two of the most important MDGs: MDG 4 and MDG 6.
At one glance with the eight global goals included in the MDGs, it is easy to notice the great emphasis placed on health as three MDGs are directly pertaining to the improvement of health while some of the remaining others are indirectly pertaining to health as well (Fehling et al., 2013). Two of those three MDGs that directly aim at improving health globally are the MDG 4 and MDG 6. Reiterating the introductory part of this paper, MDG 4 pertains to the reduction of child mortality while MDG 6 pertains to the global combat against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Starting with MDG 4 or the global goal of reducing child mortality, this MDG has proved to be successful with its aim, reporting a substantial decrease in the number of deaths among children under five years old worldwide (Bryce et al., 2013). From 12.4 million mortality rate in 1990, activities with connected with MDG 4 had been effective at reducing such high rate to 7.6 million in 2010—a 40% decline in child mortality rate despite the continuous increase in the number of births annually (Bryce et al., 2013). Such improvement is important as child mortality rate is also an indicator of life expectancy in countries globally (Bryce et al., 2013). However, despite the impressive reduction, MDG 4 is clearly unable to reach its target results for the year 2015 (Bryce et al., 2013; Ooms, Stuckler, Basu, and McKee, 2010). To date, child mortality rate worldwide is still twice the target rate for 2015, deeming the inability of MDG 4 to fulfill its desired outcome (Ooms et al., 2010). MDG 4’s failure to largely manage or control child mortality rate in low- and middle-income countries as well as in sub-Saharan countries may be the largest contributing factor for the failure to reach the targeted result for the year 2015 (Bryce et al., 2013). Occurring largely in the poorest countries, death among children under the age of five is often caused by diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria—all of which account for more than 30% of deaths among children under five years old in 2010 (Bryce et al., 2013). Major infections are also a common cause of death among children under the age of five (Bryce et al., 2013). Considering the trending advanced technology that developed countries have to promote and improve the health and safety of their children, this high rate of child mortality rate in developing countries is still alarming and surprising—bringing us all closer to understanding the concept and depth of poverty that grasps the affected low- and middle-income countries and sub-Saharan countries. The major culprit that brings about this disappointing fact about children in developing countries is the unavailability of interventions that will sufficiently cater the demands of every child in need (Bryce et al., 2013)—a concern that has not been put to end yet by the supposedly globally systematic MDG 4. Universal provision of immunization for children is seen as the single best solution so far (Satterthwaite, 2003). Exploring further the obvious problem regarding the control and management of fatal diseases in developing countries, which are well suppressed in developed countries, it will be best to examine one of the primary health-oriented global goals, the MDG 6 or the global objective to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
MDG 6 or the global goal to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases is, like the MDG 4, another one of the eight MDGs that is not able to meet its target outcome in 2015 (Ooms et al., 2010). MDG 6 has largely failed to fulfill its desired outcomes, with only few of its targets to be actually met (Ooms et al., 2010). With the emphasis of the goal on HIV/AIDS and malaria, it would be simple for anyone to conclude that more extensive researches and campaigns are actually conducted to improve the existing status of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of such diseases. However, it is the contrary: the emphasis placed on HIV/AIDS and malaria in MDG 6 actually weakened the promising targeted result of the global goal for the year 2015. As pointed out by one author, the specific and individual focus placed on HIV/AIDS and malaria actually removed the chance for other diseases to get ample and necessary attention, funding and call for action (Molyneux, 2008 as cited in Fehling et al., 2013). As a result, various legislative and campaigning bodies that advocate for other types of diseases not emphasized on MDG 6 are pitting against one another to have a chance to get into the “funding climate” associated MDGs (Smith and Taylor, 2013). Such narrowing down of the diseases included in the MDG 6 proves to be unconstructive and unhelpful to the desired results of the said global goal. One of its highly destructive effects is the inevitable vertical aid that averts the funding originally allotted for further research and study of other diseases not included in the global goal (Smith and Taylor, 2013). Obviously, such is done to prevent any impediment in the course of research for HIV/AIDS and malaria. This may be helpful if not for the fact that researches on other important and alarming diseases get cut shortly for the diverted funding (Smith and Taylor, 2013). Also, such tightly-narrowed sorting of diseases in MDG 6 turns appropriate attention away from other important diseases such as non-communicable diseases—which is the now the most common fatal disease in developed countries, especially USA—and mental diseases as well as other disabilities (Fehling et al., 2013). In order to solve such problem arising from the separation of HIV/AIDS and malaria from other diseases that need just as much attention, health care of every community must have strong and unwavering focus on TB and AIDS prevention and support for the affected patients (Satterthwaite, 2003).
With the failure of the MDGs to reach their target results in the year 2015, many speculations on what could have been the best solutions have arisen and one of the best known is the “charity” paradigm (Ooms et al., 2010). The idea of increasing the donations of high-income countries to low- and middle-income countries, from 0.25% in 2003 to 0.44% in 2006 and 0.54% in 2015, which amounts to US $120 billion annual aid (Ooms et al., 2010). But according to the study of Ooms et al. (2010), such approach is not as helpful as it may seem as it (1) perpetuates the poverty trap rather than breaking it, (2) such assistance from other countries is not always enough to reach the poorest members of the country, (3) international assistance is oftentimes short-term, and (4) international assistance fails to actually address the issues that need immediate solutions. As a more effective solution, perennial redistributed funds are considered (Ooms et al., 2010). Perennial redistributed funds are capable of providing long-term aid until a poor country is completely able to sustain itself (Ooms et al., 2010).
Bryce, J., Black, R.E., and Victora, C.G. (2013). Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: progress and challenges. BMC Medicine, 11(225), 1-4. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-225
Fehling, M., Nelson, B.D., and Venkatapuram, S. (2013). Limitations of the Millennium Development Goals: a literature review. Global Public Health, 8(10), 1109-1122. DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2013.845676
Ooms, G., Stuckler, D., Basu, S., and McKee, M. (2010). Financing the Millennium Development Goals for health and beyond: sustaining the ‘Big Push’. Globalization and Health, 6(17), 1-8. DOI: 10.1186/1744-8603-6-17
Satterthwaite, D. (2003). The Millennium Development Goals and urban poverty reduction: great expectations and nonsense statistics. Environment and Urbanization, 15(2), 179-190. Retrieved from http://eau.sagepub.com/content/15/2/179.abstract
Smith, J., and Taylor, E.M. (2013). MDGs and NTDs: Reshaping the Global Health Agenda. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7(12), 1-3. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002529
United Nations Development Programme. (2014). The Millennium Development Goals: Eight Goals for 2015. Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/mdg/
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