The survey was a study. Therefore, anybody can critique or comment on it but to reject it outright without even looking at it thoroughly, is rather short sighted. The timing and purpose of this study would not alter the figures in the paper. So what if the information released was'propaganda' for the upcoming review of RAMSI, as claimed by the PM. I briefly looked at the report and I strongly urge all the cabinet ministers to look at it closely. It will greatly assist the much preached bottom up approach policy. In-fact, the government should be applauded for some improvements in peoples lives.
Let us take for example, the education level. Almost half of the respondents made it to primary school only, while 12% had no formal education at all. These figures should be compared to other data's available with the Ministry of education or other departments /organizations to see whether they are painting the same story or not. If they are then what actions or strategic plans do we have to improve these percentages or does it matter at all to have everybody attend formal education i.e. what does the country get by having everybody attend formal education? What effect will this have on us as a country in the next 20 years or so? Do we have the resources to pursue the plans before us?
Another example is visits to clinics. This study noted more women in our rural areas are more likely to visit a clinic than those in the urban areas. This finding is significant because it implies several points, women are obviously more ill and have to walk for miles to get to the nearest health facility, therefore children are more likely to be affected since most of the women are mothers who are struggling to look after children and do all the household chores . We should ask ourselves, what do these figures mean and what solutions do we have to effect preventative services so that women (mothers) do not have to come to clinics frequently to seek treatment? These are but some of the many questions any educated person will ask when they go through this report.
I personally thought the report was very informative and should stimulate questions and further researches amongst the academia, services providers and finally our policy makers (politicians). Whether we like the results of the report or not, just keep in mind that it was a study. Therefore, figures should not be used to pursue agenda's that have not been researched thoroughly as yet. If there are no other similar reports published in the past, I think this report should be viewed as a baseline for evaluation purposes to some of the programs already implemented.
A comment on the Peoples Survey 2007
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Ishmael Togamae and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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