The Millennium Development Goals or MDGs promote important resources intended for the health and education of the children. The MGDs affirmed its commitment to member countries of the United Nations to reducing poverty, especially the worst forms of human deprivation such as quality health and education. The commitments of MDGs embody the specific targets and the milestones development of the children. All over the world, the health and education of the children are the main public concerns. In every nation, the core responsibility of the government or private agencies is to support the children and their families in accordance with the implemented policies and programs, to promote quality health and education and to control poverty.
A Third-World Country
As a third-world country, Philippines, currently experiencing health and education issues. The failure to address the critical issues in health and education results to a long-term poverty and future generations will suffer. However, through the guidance of the United Nations MDGs, reduction of poverty and better development are possible for the nation to progress. In the human capital production, the early stage investments are highly recognized by all sectors of the community. The early stage investments are the dynamic formation of the human capital that greatly influences the subsequent stage outcomes. Recently, the study demonstrates that prenatal and early childhood nutrition has the significant role in determining the readiness of the child for schooling and educational or labor market outcomes. It only implies that the dynamic path of the human capital formation strongly depends on the early stage investment necessary to the cumulative nature of the all the formations.
Millennium Development Goals
The UN MDGs focus on their target population, the milestones for the children development. In the Philippines, the goals of the MDGs between 1990 and 2015; (1) the proportion of people, whose income is less than a dollar per day, (2) achieve the universal primary education, (3) reduce child mortality, and (4) improve maternal health. The goals are well-supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF, it enhanced its organizational commitments through the Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities carried out in 40 countries in the world including the Philippines.
Philippine Statistics Authority
In the Philippines, in 1996, the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA with the coordination of the National Statistical Coordination Board or NSCB implemented Executive Order No. 352, “Designation of Statistical Activities that Generate Critical Data for Decision-making of the Government and the Private Sectors” . It is mandated with the generation or release of official provincial poverty statistics of the country. Annually, the food and poverty thresholds are available while, every three years, the survival and poverty incidence, the magnitude and subsistence poor, and poverty gap, income gap, and severity of poverty are available. Incidentally, the Philippine Statistical system or PSS through the NSCB emphasized that it is necessary to respond the concerns through the multi-dimensional information on children in poverty.
Health, Education, and Poverty
The major public goods and the responsibility of the states or government are health and education. However, most people believe that the prospective schools as public places to promote public health are underestimated by the health and education decision makers and the community. Many countries all over the world have their policies that are related to school health, but the gap exist between the intention and practice with complexities of the implementing large-scale school-based health programs. The basic health education is the main topic of the national model curricula and its efforts often stop or reduce educational knowledge, ignore potentials, and sustain behavioral changes through skill-based approaches.
In the Philippines, the schools are the education facilities and the centers of the community existence. The schools play an essential leadership role in changing the lives of the people by addressing the key determinants of quality health especially the children during their early education. Most of the MDGs in the world focus on children health and education. On the contrary, some international public health and development efforts have failed to address the needs of the children. In addition, it also failed to improve the greatest benefit for human development and to reduce poverty.
Globally, preventable infections and chronic diseases take high charges on the children population; about 200 million children did not reach the full potential in terms of physical and cognitive development. In addition, most children suffer from child labor and residing on the street, homeless. The Commission on Social Determinants of Health of the World Health Organization highlighted that poverty, the lack of access to safe water and sanitation, and inequities are the main factors that contribute poor health among children in the Philippines.
The Human Development Index or HDI is a statistics that measures and combines the development indicators of the given country such as education, life expectancy, and income (Human Development Reports-UNDP, 2015). In the education component, there are two indicators available; expected years of schooling and mean years of schooling respectively. In addition, the income component is measured by the Gross National Income or GNI per capita (Human Development Reports-UNDP, 2015).
Human Development Index, Philippines
As per human development reports, it indicates that the HDI of the Philippines is 0.66 and ranked as 117, overall (Human Development Reports-UNDP, 2015). The trends from 1980 to present shows that the life expectancy at birth is 68.7, mean years of schooling is 8.88, the expected years of schooling is 11.3, and the GNI per capita (2011 PPP $) is 6, 381.44 . In addition, the population multi-dimensional poverty index is 7.26 percent.
Human Development Index, USA
As per human development reports, it indicates that the HDI of the United States of America is 0.914 and ranked as 5, overall (Human Development Reports-UNDP, 2015). The trends from 1980 to present shows that the life expectancy at birth is 78.94, mean years of schooling is 12.94, the expected years of schooling is 16.5, and the GNI per capita (2011 PPP $) is 52, 308.38. In addition, the population multi-dimensional poverty index is N.A.
Comparison of HD Index
The HD index rank of the U.S. indicates a very high human development while the Philippines indicates a medium human development. Overall, the U.S. has a higher HDI compare to the Philippines. The HD Index of the U.S. shows that the average achievement in the three basic dimensions of human development such as a long and healthy life, education, and decent standard of living is better compared to the Philippines.
In the U.S., the population with at least pre-school age education is 73 percent of its population while in the Philippines is 51 percent. Based on this data, there is a lesser opportunity for the pre-school age in the Philippines to go to school. In terms of the population multi-dimensional poverty index, the Philippines has a higher percentage of the population with deprivations to access the basic necessities because in the case of the U.S. population, there is zero level of the MPI. As per data, in the U.S., the children at the age of one year, only 2 to 8 percent lacking immunization while in the Philippines, 10 to 15 percent. The children mortality rate in the U.S. is 6 to 7 percent, in the Philippines, 24 to 30 percent. The health expenditures of the U.S. government is only 17.9 percent of GDP and 11.3 percent out of pocket from the patients, while in the Philippine government is 4.1 percent of GDP and 55.9 percent out pocket from the patients.
Generally, the U.S. and the Philippines differ in all the components of its HDI. It is very clear to say that the health, education, and poverty are prevalent in the Philippines. The health and education of the children depend on the core of the policies and programs of the government (Monse, 2013). It is possible that the Philippines will suffer poor education, severe health problems, and a long-term poverty and lack of children development if the HDI will not improve for the next 10 to 25 years.
It is a great challenge for the Philippine government to improve the quality of living of its people. The issues of poor education and health and poverty affect the developmental growth of the children. The combination of investments in school facilities and education materials, health facilities, and governance reform are extremely necessary especially the decision-making process to the school, hospitals, government, and the entire community.
However, the Philippine government is now starting to change its educational, health, and its economy systems. In 2006, the Third Elementary Education Project or TEEP implemented by the Philippine Department of Education in all public primary and elementary schools and all provinces the Social Reform Agenda with 221.16 million dollars total budget, 91.07 million dollars from JBIC, 82.84 million dollars from World Bank, and 47.25 million dollars from the Philippine government .
In the pursuance of the MDGs for health development, the national and local government of the Philippines specified the key strategies and reform areas that explicitly target the poor population in the country (Kraft, 2013). The government strongly pursues its objectives to improve nutrition because it resulted in the stunted-forage; in 2003, it declined from nearly one-in-three children under five years of age to less than one-in-four in 2005, respectively. In addition, in recent years, there have been limited improvements in maternal and reproductive health and increasing out-of-pocket expenditure. The government is anticipating good outcomes in the coming years for the improvement of the health status of the Philippines.
The international and local agencies contributed ideas and programs in the Philippines. Particularly, the Fit for School Action Framework is one of the approaches implemented by the UNESCO and WHO. It provides the conceptual context for the innovation that is based on the operation for the FIT Approach (Benzian, 2012). The cores of the Fit for School Action Framework are; Simple, Scalable, and Sustainable. The Simple core is an intervention in school health based on best possible evidence, cost-effective and achieves high impact on a few key diseases packaged to make implementation as easy as possible. The Scalable core shows that large-scale implementation, it intervenes a modular structure based on uniform templates. It uses the existing structures and resources essential to the scalability, such as the reliance on some simple interventions implemented by teachers rather than the health professionals. The Sustainable core is any programs that are only successful in the long run and not donor-dependent. In general, the FIT Approach is based on the main principle of sustained government funds after initial start-up phases. In addition, it actively involves the communities and parents through participative monitoring and evaluation process. Alternatively, the process is determined by the construction of the required group support facilities. Supporting policy frameworks addressed the macro and micro management issues as the key to ensuring the sustainability status. The effective and appropriate research and monitoring strongly complement and inform the program management and the political decision makers in the country.
Global Visit and Personal Involvement
Considering the virtual field trip, the lifestyles of the people in the rural areas are very simple. The videos are the strong evidence that the Philippines faces issues in education, health, and poverty. In the video, in Cagayan de Oro City, many street children worked in the marketplaces to provide their food (Islandkidsphil, 2008). Most of them are scavengers in the dump or garbage sites located in the certain part of the city. In another video, in Bagong Silang, people are staying in the cemetery, homeless families (Pictures, 2012). They have no choice but to make the graveyard as their home and survive for their living. The last video, in Lapu Lapu City, it showed the lifestyle and simple source of income of the people, most are selling street foods, vegetables, and fruits (White, 2015). Most of the young children are working with their parents to support their basic needs. The results of the studies conducted by many researchers are deemed reality of the education, health, and poverty conditions in the Philippines.
Personally, I see and feel that the condition of the Philippines needs assistance from the government and agencies who are advocates of better changes. I am touched the way people live in the rural areas, despite the hardships, still, they manage to smile genuinely. Philippine people are happy people. Their values show that they are strong to face the challenges. If given a chance to help the country, I would definitely inform the advocates to help the young children by providing them the quality education they deserve. I believe that education is the key to a progressive country. If there are many educated people, they can land in proper jobs and can provide their needs. With enough resources for living, they can have a better health and live away from poverty. Definitely, the young children especially in the rural areas, homeless children, and poor families need extreme assistance. I always stand on my belief that the children are the future leaders of every nation.
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