Friday, September 27, 2013

It's That Time of Year Again

Nope, not the holiday season just yet, but Fall is indeed falling in NYC which means the United Nations General Assembly has convened.  In an article from yesterday's Guardian titled "JK Confident Tanzania Will Achieve Most MDGs," the Tanzanian president downloaded his views on the state of the nation (TZ) and his thoughts for the future.

IMO, he's a little overly optimistic regarding the timeline of events, and a touch quick to say that the reason TZ won't make some of the other goals is due to donor lagging, but at least it seems things are headed in the right direction, particularly in the area of malaria prevention, care, and treatment.  Check it out.

At the ongoing UN conference in New York on Tuesday, President Jakaya Kikwete said that despite delays experienced in the disbursement of funds by development partners, Tanzania will achieve five out of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

"Tanzania will achieve the second goal of universal primary education, which notes that all children must be enrolled in schools, the fourth that concerns the reduction of child mortality, the sixth of combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, and part of the seventh goal which is about clean water provision," he said.

He hastened to add, "The third goal that focuses on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women including their equal representation in Parliament and an equal number of boys and girls in primary and secondary schools and tertiary education can also achieved by 2015."

However, he said that due to slow progress by development partners to dish out funds, the country's implementation reports indicate that Tanzania is not likely to achieve at least three of the goals.  "We have taken major steps and put more effort on this but it is necessary that we increase the speed of implementing some of the projects in the remaining two years."

"Generally, the MDG implementation report in Tanzania shows that it is impossible to meet three goals which include the first that concerns the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the fifth that talks about improving maternal and child health and the seventh that speaks about sustainable environment."
Organized by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, the conference focuses on how to speed up the implementation of MDGs.

Among those who attended the conference on Tuesday were UNDP Director Hellen Clark, World Bank President Jim Kim, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Ghanaian President John Mahama, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, and Tonga Prime Minister Lord Siale'ataongo Tu'ivakano.

MDGs have been implemented in poor countries since 2001 with the aim of transforming the economies into middle income nations.

Meanwhile, President Kikwete applauded the United Nations for its efforts in the fight against malaria which have born fruits – the reduction in malaria cases is expected to reach 25% in the world and 33% in Africa in the coming ten years.

Still, despite the tremendous achievements recorded in Africa in general and Tanzania in particular, malaria still claims at least 650,000 lives every year in Tanzania.

"Our main challenge is how to make these achievements sustainable and deal with the remaining goals....Malaria cases were reduced by 18% among under-five children by 2007, and between 2007 and 2012, the cases were reduced further by 50%.  In Zanzibar, we are in a transitional period towards completely eradicating the problem.  I take this opportunity to thank the donors for their help which has taken us to where we are now."

Nonetheless, he warned that this is the third time the island has reached the point of eradicating malaria but the scourge keeps recurring.  Investigations have shown that it is still being transmitted from mainland Tanzania to Zanzibar.

Worldwide, malaria continues to threatens at least 3.3 billion people and, on the African continent, at least one child dies every minute.

President Kikwete is currently on an official visit to the United States and is among the leaders attending the United Nations General Council.

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