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Venezuela reaches the Millennium Development Goals

Geneva, 09 July 2009. In the general debate held at the high level meeting of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) at its 65th session, the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela headed by Vice-Minister for Health Resources, from the Ministry of People's Power for Health, Dr. Julio César Alviarez presented the country's progress in terms of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, with special emphasis in the field of the right to health.

The Venezuelan delegate stressed that the economic and social policies implemented by President Hugo Chávez Frías have made possible the achievement of those Millennium Development Goals that have today become a reality in the country. He stated that Venezuela has improved significant variables in the Human Development Index, increasing from 0.7456 in 1988; to 0.8263 in 2007, which puts it at one of the highest places in the global ranking system. Similarly, he stressed that social investment has exhibited sustained growth, going from 8.4% of GDP in 1988, to 18.8% in 2008.

In the area of health, vice-minister Alviarez stressed that regarding HIV-AIDS, the number of people receiving free antiretroviral therapy increased from 1059 in 1999 to 25,657 in 2008. Further, he indicated that the infant mortality rate of 19 per thousand live births in 1999, has been significantly reduced, the ratio for 2007 of 13.7 per thousand live births of children less than 5 years of age.

Similarly, he explained that from 2000 onwards 7 new vaccines were incorporated into the strategy for disease prevention; he highlighted that in 2008 alone more than 32 million doses were administered, and that a historic figure of 8 656 988 doses had been produced, all supported in the framework of the Misión Barrio Adentro I and II.

Moreover, the government representative pointed out that the 29.8% of people in extreme poverty in 2003, was drastically reduced to 9.4% in the first half of 2007, far exceeding the target set for 2015, which was 12.5%.

In meeting the target ‘Zero hunger' prior to 2015, the Venezuelan delegate said that through the Mercal network of sale and distribution of food, 6048 houses that serve food to the most needy, providing balanced nutrition, were established in 2008. He noted that the Mercal network possesses an infrastructure of 16,529 establishments at a national level, which benefits more than half the population of the country who buy their food at lower cost.

With regard to gender equity in education Alviarez noted that the figures show that in university education there is a currently a higher presence of women to men. He also highlighted the significant increase in participation in the education system, from a 31.25% increase for the period 1990-1998, to a 47.56% increase for the period 1999-2006.

Similarly, he said that in Venezuela between 1990 and 2007 there was an increase from 68% to 92% in the proportion of people with sustainable access to safe drinking water, well above the target set for 2015, which was to raise this figure to 84%, which has benefited over 24 million people throughout the country.

Finally, deputy Alviarez said that 10 years ago in Venezuela a process of profound transformation began as a result of the implementation of economic and social policies based on the principles underlying 21st Century Socialism, a process led by President Hugo Chavez, that has provided a sustained increase in quality of life and welfare for Venezuelans.

Translated by Kiraz Janicke for

Published on Jul 14th 2009 at 11.11am