Venezuela reaches the Millennium Development Goals

At the 65th session of the Economic and Social Council of the United
Nations (ECOSOC), Venezuelan Vice-Minister for Health Resources, 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.

By Prensa Misión Permanente en la ONU
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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 Venezuelanalysis.com

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