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Last Updated: 03/03/2011The Threatened Millennium Development Goals in India
Despite official claims that India is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Mayuri Misra writes that real progress will depend on a transformation of traditional social structures and a reorientation of government policy toward public health and social justice.
Like all ambitious plans, the Millennium Development Goal has been a mixed bag: as much as it has achieved some success in its goals, it has suffered significant failure too. Many rich countries have failed to meet their promise of generous aid; the last few months have, no doubt, seen an improvement on that count but a lot still needs to be done.
India is a patriarchal society that imposes a number of restrictions on women. Legal and constitutional reforms are needed to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The prevalent feudalism in the social structure also oppresses the scheduled castes and tribals in the country where we see a lower rate of health and a greater rate of poverty.
The MDG declaration was originally a visionary document seeking specific results. Therefore, measuring the country’s success through surrogate variables will not reflect real progress. Let us look at the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) that focuses on child and maternal mortality as an example. While it outlines the latest infrastructure introduced, and talks about increased funding, greater numbers of health personnel, and valuable new initiatives, it does not explain the impact of these measures on the health of people.
A concerted effort is required to eliminate corruption too, which is a critical factor in the realization of MDGs. Clean water, sanitation, nutrition, education, housing, employment are still not top priorities despite the fact that they have a direct impact on the health of the population; the focus should be on public health approaches rather than improvements in health industries or technologies per se.
Mayuri Misra is a graduate student at the University for Peace.