The Bahamas is doing well in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as set out by the United Nations, and as benchmarked against the world, has achieved and surpassed the world body’s goal regarding the elimination of poverty, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham said Thursday.
Mr. Ingraham, along with Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Brent Symonette travelled to New York to take part in the United Nations MDG High Level Event and sessions of the Clinton Global Initiative.
The eight United Nations MDGs for 2015 are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment for women, the reduction in child mortality, the improvement of maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
Heads of State at Thursday’s High Level event stressed the urgency of action, particularly with regard to poverty, healthcare and education across the globe.
Mr. Ingraham said: “The Bahamas is able to ensure that every child from age five is able to attend a school in The Bahamas. So The Bahamas meets that yardstick.
“The Bahamas meets the yardstick of females being able to go to school [and having] equal access to education,” the Prime Minister noted. “We meet the yardstick of female participation on a gender equality question.
“There is only one item on the agenda that we do not meet and that is the constitutional requirement that females are able to transfer their nationality to their children if they are married to foreign men.”
Referencing other targets within the MDGs, Prime Minister Ingraham said The Bahamas is doing well in providing potable water throughout the country, in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and in the management of infant and maternal mortality rates.
Mr. Ingraham noted that the maternal mortality rate in The Bahamas stands between one to four in every 1,000 births, adding that while the infant mortality rate is currently in the mid-teens, it can be lowered.
“We hope to get it back to where it used to be when I was last in office,” he said. “The focus will now be on perinatal care.”
In The Bahamas, prenatal and postnatal care is free, and expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies throughout the Family Islands are provided support to go to New Providence or Grand Bahama to receive care at the major government hospital on those islands.
With regard to poverty, Mr. Ingraham pointed to the challenge of determining how the State can best provide support to persons who fall below the poverty line so that children do not neglect to go to school because of a lack of uniforms, shoes or a meal during the day.
An MDG target not yet met by The Bahamas meantime is the collection of statistical data to support the work being in the Bahamas and the retrieval of that data. Mr. Ingraham said the country is continuing to work on addressing this challenge.
The Prime Minister participated in a MDG roundtable session on education and healthcare Thursday, as well as the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) working session on education and global health.
Deputy Prime Minister Symonette took part in the CGI session on the environment.
The Prime Minister will deliver The Bahamas’ statement to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.