Tracking Trends toward MDGs

The Center for Global Development developed a Millennium Development Goal trends report to coincide with the MDG Summit this week. The Report explains that …

The MDG Progress Index includes only 8 of the 60 progress indicators tracked and reported by the United Nations (see appendix I for complete list). We selected these 8 core indicators due to their (1) accuracy in capturing the original Millennium Declaration goals; (2) data availability; and (3) usage in the development literature.

The authors “… excluded … five malaria indicators because of the lack of available data – especially for baseline years.” Ideally the baselines should have been around 1990.  It was not until around the time that the Roll Back Malaria Partnership was formed that there was agreement on malaria indicators to be tracked and their actual measurement was done.

One of the excluded indicators was, “Proportion of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets.” Out of interest we examined DHS reports from three countries where ITN use was reported – Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia – as seen in the charts below with 2002/03 and 2008 information available.

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These three countries present very different pictures, but none were approaching the 2010 RBM target of 80% coverage during their 2008 surveys.  Nigeria with the highest burden in sub-Saharan Africa was the farthest and had made the least progress. Zambia is said to be among the best performing countries and yet it was just a little over halfway to the 2010 target in 2008.

Maybe the move toward Universal Coverage will produce some major jumps in these indicators. But already some countries like Ghana have had to re-evaluate the feasibility of the 31 December 2010 Universal Coverage target due to net procurement challenges. Ghana now is aiming for 2011 to ensure there is at least one LLIN for every two people.

We may not have perfect data to track all MDG indicators, but we should use what is available to aid the planning and decision making to reach targets and sustain them.

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