Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poverty Rate alarming despite Gov’t Efforts – Joint Survey Report

NEWS GAMBIA, BANJUL- As the government of The Gambia is doing all it can day and night to eradicate poverty in the county, survey report revealed that it seems to be escalating nowadays and this can be attributed to social services, according to Core Welfare Indicator Survey that was jointly conducted by The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), the National Planning Commission (NPC) and PRO-PAG that conducted the country wide survey in the year 2009, facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Measuring the poverty level and the welfare of citizens should be the crucial role of the government and its development partners as it analysis and studies the welfare of citizens so as to establish any baseline, set targets and strategies and more so monitor targets for the future.

Surveys also provides decision-makers, policy designers and development partners with a series of information for development policies, programmes and projects on living standards of the population.

The objective of the survey is to provide rapid information on key social sectors for various subgroups of the population, as well as monitoring changes over time when repeated on regular basis, such as annually.

More specially, the survey concerned with the access, use, satisfaction of basic social services, such as health and education, it also had generic core questions on employment, agriculture and household and expenditure and has also a module on less than five years of age in order to measure nutrition in the country.

A sampling of three thousand (3000) household was selected country wide in which one hundred and fifty enumeration areas to provide estimates on a national level, as well as for rural urban areas and for all the eight local government areas. The sample was selected on probability proportional to size basic.

According to the survey, self classified poverty situation indicated that about sixty three percent of the households classified themselves as poor in whom the proportion was highest in Kauntaur with 68.8 percent and lowest in Basse with 59.3 percent respectively.

For households that regarded themselves as very poor, Janjanbureh top the list with an account of 31.1 percent and Kanifing had the lowest with 17.1 percent while fifteen percent of households regarded themselves as non-poor and the proportion was highest in Brikama with 19.6 and 3.5 percent was the lowest in Kautaur.

On household economic situation, twenty two percent reported that the situations of their communities were little better compared to the year 2008, in addition, twenty two percent of the households retreated that their situation remain the same while fifteen percent noted that for theirs, is little worse now and 10.2 indicated that their situation is much worse at the time of the survey and it was higher in the urban than in the rural areas.

Food security among the households interviewed, 37.2 percent reported that their households have food security and the highest number was registered in Kanifing with 46.7 and lowest in Janjanbureh with 25.7 percent respectively, households in the urban reported to have more food security with 43.3 percent than the rural counterparts as for them it was 29.9 percent.

In the survey, forty percent of the households reported that they sometimes have difficulties in satisfying their food needs with 7.8 said they often had such difficulty, 7.3 said they always had it and 23 percent revealed that they seldom have such difficulty.

The head of the households are the principal contributors to most households with 93.3percent. Children accounted for only 1.2 percent and the proportion was higher in the rural than in the urban areas and they contribute to male than female headed households.

Nutrition, the survey indicated that children are short for their age; their height is more than two standard deviations below the standard height for age in which thirteen percent of the children were reported to be stunted.

Kautaur has the highest proportion of stunted children with 18.9 and Kerewan accounted the lowest with 7.9 percent respectively. Waste, children are underweight for their height and their weight is more than two standard deviations below the standard weight for high.

According to the survey, about 10 percent of the children were reported to be wasted and Kerewan registered the highest with 14.8 and Basse lowest with 6.2 percent. Underweight, the survey spelled out that child for their age, and their weight is more than two standard deviations below the standard weight for age.

The survey revealed that the proportion of stunted children was highest in Brikama with 30 and lowest in Kanifing and it went on to explained that Brikama local government areas, each with 17.8 percent.

On education, the survey stated that the primary school enrollment rate is 27 percent at the national level in which it revealed that enrollment rate was above the national average in Banjul, Kuntaur, Janjanbureh and Basse.

In the secondary school net enrollment, the survey indicated that the enrollment rate stood at 46 percent and the proportion ranges from 95 in Banjul to 15 percent in Basse respectively.

On education satisfaction, it mentioned that among those who were dissatisfied with their schools, was 59.9 percent and they attributed it to lack of books as their reason for dissatisfaction. This is followed by facilities in bad condition with about 6 percent and lack of teachers and poor teaching with 1.7 and 1.4 percent respectively. More children in the urban felt dissatisfied with 76.1 than their counterparts in the rural areas with 76.1 percent respectively.

The survey indicated that the literacy rate at the national level was 45 percent and the population aged 15-19 has the highest literacy rate 67.6 percent. For all the age groups, males have the highest literacy than females for the population aged 15-19.

For children aged 7-9 who ever attended school by reason not currently attending school is thirty four percent of the students that reported not to be currently attending school and has been attributing it to high school fees been charged.

Married on the one hand, was also given as a reason for some not attending school and it accounted for 8 percent and the proportion was higher in the rural than in the urban settlements. In the case of illness/ pregnancy leads others for not attending school and the survey revealed that 4.3 and school too far accounted for 2.3 percent respectively.

Access to medical services, about 44 percent of the households have access to health facilities , it was higher in the urban with 51 while in the rural areas it stood at 36.3 percent and by local government area for access to medical services, it was higher in Banjul with 80 and lowest in Janjanbureh recording 22.5 percent respectively.

The need for medical services was 18.4 percent at the national level, in which the rural needed 19.3 percent than those in the urban areas with only 17.3 percent calls for needs.

On the uses of medical services, nineteen percent of the households ware actually using medical services. The population in the rural was using 21 percent, more than those in the urban areas with 19.1 percent.

Usage was higher in Mansakonko with 23.7 and lowest in Banjul with 11.1 percent and the usage was also higher for children under five years of age with 31percent.

Medical services satisfaction accounted only 12.3 of the population reported to be satisfied with health services, satisfaction was higher in the rural with 13.5 than in the urban with 11 percent. Janjanbureh had the highest satisfaction rate 16.2 while Banjul recorded the lowest 7.1 percent. Overall, 87.8 of households indicated that they were not satisfied with health services provided and the most common reasons cited for dissatisfaction is the non-availability of drugs of 10.3 followed by 10 and services too expensive marked 10 percent.

Person who did not consult a health provider and reasons for not consulting “of the respondents who reported to be sick in the four weeks preceding the survey as 81 percent reported not having consulted a health provider “, the main reason given was no need to consult a health provider 95.6 followed and by distance to the service provider 2.6 and service too expensive 1.3 percent respectively.

General employment, according to the survey, 60 of the surveyed population were employed, 5 were underemployed, in which 12 percent were employed. Of this, the highest proportions of the employed population were found in the predominantly rural areas.

However, the proportion ranges from 40.1 in Kanifing to 93.9 percent in Kuntaur and more males than females were reported to be employed with 66.5 compared to 53.2 percent.

On the employment status, the majority of the employed population were self-employed which accounted for 52.5 percent followed by those reported to be private person household, those employed by government 7.4 percent while for that of the parastatals was not indicated and the proportion of the self employed persons were higher in the rural areas.

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