Guyana has made tremendous progress towards meeting various MDG targets (Part 2)
According to Outgoing United Nations Representative, Khadija Musa, Guyana has made tremendous progress towards meeting the various targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The diplomat said that as indicated in the 2011MDG Progress Report, Guyana has already met the targets for nutrition and child health and made important strides in its efforts to reduce hunger, increase access to social services and benefits, improve enrollment and completion of primary education, increase empowerment of women, and achieve environmental sustainability.
Musa said that the country was also on track to achieving the goals relating to education, water and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS.
“The UN family applauds and celebrates these achievements, and warmly congratulates the Government of Guyana…Guyana’s achievements would not have been possible without the country’s strong macroeconomic performance.”
The envoy said that this strong showing by the economy in spite of a turbulent and uncertain global and regional economic environment has served as a solid foundation for Guyana’s quest to achieve the MDGs.
“We believe that sustaining this trend of sound macroeconomic management together with deliberate and strategic targeting of the relevant social sectors will continue to benefit efforts to achieve the MDGs. As we celebrate the achievements, we recognise that much work remains to be done. We particularly note the remaining challenges in the area of maternal health, where work needs to be stepped up towards creating an environment for a higher standard of care and long-term sustainability,” expressed Musa.
She added, “In this regard, we are pleased and encouraged that the previous Government strongly demonstrated its commitment to achieving the unmet MDGs by identifying MDG 5 – improve maternal health – as its priority. The then Government had further set the year 2015 as the deadline for achieving targets associated with this goal.”
The diplomat said that the UN family remains committed to providing technical assistance and cooperation in the implementation of MDG related interventions, not least those related to maternal health.
In this regard, she said that the United Nations will continue to provide leadership and coordinate the efforts of development partners so as to ensure alignment and complementarily to the Government’s efforts and UN principles.
In evaluating Guyana’s progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, the Government of Guyana had identified MDG 5 – improve maternal health – as the goal that needs prioritisation. Although there has been progressing toward this goal, significant challenges remain.
To identify the current major bottlenecks in this area, a situational analysis was carried out using the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) and concrete solutions were then selected in line with the prioritised bottlenecks.
All stakeholders involved in the MAF drafting process identified the shortage of skilled human resources, especially of qualified obstetricians and gynaecologists, as the major bottleneck. Other prioritised bottlenecks were the inadequate coordination and collaboration at sectoral and intersectoral levels; inadequate enforcement mechanisms and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems; cultural barriers; and a lack of clear policy direction in areas such as sexual and reproductive health.
In order to overcome, or at least to mitigate, these obstacles, a wide range of solutions was selected to introduce and sustain improved standards of care in the maternal health sector.
These include, among others, expanding training programmes for health care professionals; recruiting qualified OB/GYN specialists to support the creation of a local cadre of experts in maternal health; equipping maternity wards of the national referral hospital and other key regional hospitals; strengthening information and awareness programmes; improving communication and transportation between health facilities; strengthening systems for M&E and for enforcing existing protocols and guidelines; and supporting the update of sexual and reproductive health policy.
The aim of the resulting MAF Action Plan is twofold: on the one hand, it presents a framework to guide the implementation of interventions for accelerating progress toward maternal health so that development partners’ efforts can be aligned to, and thus complement central government action.
On the other hand, cognizant of the reality of finite fiscal space, the Government of Guyana, with the support of relevant development partners, will be able to use the MAF Action Plan as a tool for resource mobilisation in order to fill identified financing gaps.