, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – Kenya’s performance in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger remains dismal with more than 10 million people suffering from chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition, according to a new report by the Ministry of Planning.
However the Millennium Development Goals Status Report for Kenya 2011 indicates that the country has made considerable progress in the realisation of a number of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
These include the achievement of universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.
The report highlights the challenges hampering Kenya’s efforts towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger including; poor crop production practices, adverse climate changes, high food and fuel prices, population pressure, increasing frequency of social conflicts, insecure land tenure systems, among others.
“The formation of county governments is expected to unlock the flow of resources to the rural areas and hence this is expected to significantly improve by 2015,” the report notes.
Another area, in which the country still registers poor performance, is MDG 5 on the improvement of maternal health – despite the government’s efforts in reducing maternal mortality ratio.
Explaining this phenomenon, the Acting Director for Programmes and Projects at the Planning Ministry Gideon Mailu, noted that whereas the number of lives lost in every 100,000 births previously stood at 414, the figure subsequently increased to 488 as revealed by the report currently stands at 495 based on the latest statistics not captured in the report.
He regretted the high mortality ratio considering the intervention measures the government had put in place such as construction of maternity facilities courtesy of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
“This is a challenge that should not be left to government alone as it requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. Health professionals need to give good medical care to expectant mothers and the community should also encourage pregnant women to deliver safely,” added Mailu.
He said it was gratifying to note that President Uhuru Kenyatta had promised to waive maternity fees, observing that this, alongside other strategies such as more investments in the health sector would have a decisive impact on Kenya’s efforts towards attainment of this goal.
On MDG 8 on developing global partnerships for development, Mailu emphasises that although the country had registered reasonable progress, “we should not merely concentrate on aid and grants but focus on the kind of trade we can do with external partners and create more job opportunities for Kenyans.”
With less than two years to the Millennium Development Goals 2015 deadline, the county governments will be the driving force for accelerating Kenya’s efforts towards the attainment of the MDGs, according to the report.
The Millennium Development Goals Status Report for Kenya 2011 further underscores that county governments will bear the greatest responsibility in the provision of key services to citizens, most of which are essential to the attainment of the MDG targets.
The 2010 Constitution provides for the transfer of 15 percent of budgetary resources to the 47 Counties that are the new levels of devolvement.
“With increased allocation of resources to the counties, it is expected that the county governments will adequately address MDGs through the formulation and implementation of their development plans and also give priority to the off-targets MDGs in the respective counties,” reads a section of the report.