, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – Kenya has made significant progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goal on Education, with a new report showing literacy levels in the country are now at 83 percent.
According to the 2010 Kenya Progress Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Report, education enrolment tops the pack with the net primary enrolment ratio up 25 percent from 68 percent in 2000 to 93 percent in 2009.
The 2011 Millennium Development Goals Report and 2010 Kenya Progress MDG Report were launched on Monday and they outline the progress made so far and the remaining challenges heading up to 2015.
The MDG No. 2 seeks to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling. The indicators are net enrolment ratios in primary education, proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach grade of primary education and the literacy rate of 15 to 24 year-olds, both men and women.
The Chief Economic Advisor at the Ministry of Planning Michael Chege said continued intervention by the government was necessary to maintain these numbers in the education sector.
“The country continues to contribute seven percent of its GDP to education. The African average is five percent. To target geographical areas with low primary school enrolment the 2010/2011 budget set aside Sh1.67 billion for school feeding programs in arid and semi-arid areas,” he said.
Improvements have also been made in the health sector with a reduction of HIV national incidences down to seven percent from 15 percent and better management of Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The global MDG Report revealed women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer the most with one in eight children dying before the age of five in 2009 nearly twice the average in the developing regions.
In Kenya, maternal mortality still remains shockingly high with 488 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Although some progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality we still have far too many women in Kenya dying at child birth. Challenges remain from deliveries not handled by professional healthcare givers and long distances to clinics and hospitals,” Mr Chege said.
He added that the government will do more to upscale preventive medicine and promotive healthcare.
The 2008/2009 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) shows that compared to 2003, the infant mortality rate improved to 52 from 77 per 1,000 live births and the Under Five Mortality Rate improving to 74 from 115 per 1,000 live births.
Mr Chege said though the progress towards MDGs remains on course there are still some disabling factors that could play a role in slowing the momentum.
“Post election violence in 2008, successive drought, the current global increase in food and energy costs especially after the end of last year are likely to setback our MDG achievements interventions are therefore required and many have been initiated,” he said.
United Nations Development Programme Country Director Maria Keating stressed the need for the government to focus on ensuring every individual is catered for, to meet the MDGs by 2015.
“To accelerate and sustain the progress of the MDGs the focus needs to be squarely on equity and inclusion, and by that we mean all people from all walks of life must be afforded the same opportunities in terms of equal access to realizing their economic and social rights as well as equal access to job opportunities and education.”
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