Millennium Development Goals in Nicaragua Analysing progress, social inequalities, and community actions
Abstract: The world has made important efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. However, it is still insufficient and inequalities prevail in the poorest settings. We tracked selected MDG, barriers for their achievement, and community actions that help to accelerate the pace of their accomplishment in two Nicaraguan communities (León and Cuatro Santos).In the first two studies we track the progress of MDG4 (reduce child mortality) using the under-five mortality rate. Inequalities in mortality were mainly assessed by means of maternal education, but other social stratifications were performed on rural-urban residence and sub-regional comparisons between both communities. The last two studies describe community interventions in Cuatro Santos and their association with progress toward MDG1 (poverty reduction). Participation in interventions and poverty were visualized geographically in this remote rural community between 2004 and 2009. Other selected MDG targets were also tracked.These communities will possibly meet MDG4 even before 2015. In León, MDG progress has been accompanied by a decline in child mortality. Despite social inequalities with regard to mortality persisting in education and places of residence, these have decreased. However, it is crucial to reduce neonatal mortality if MDG4 is to be achieved. For example, in León the percentage of under-five deaths in the neonatal period has doubled from 1970 to 2005. In the remote rural area of Cuatro Santos, progress has been accelerated and no child mortality differences were observed despite the level of a mother’s education.Cuatro Santos has also progressed in the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty. The participation of the population in such community interventions as microcredit, home gardening, technical training, safe drinking water, and latrines has increased. Microcredit was an intervention that was unequally distributed in this rural area, where participation was lower in poor and extremely poor households than in non-poor households. In those households that transitioned from poor to non-poor status, microcredit, home gardening, and technical training were associated with this transition. Furthermore spatial analysis revealed that clusters of low participation in interventions overlapped with clusters of high poverty households.
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