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Numbers drought

UNICEF’s Representative for the Eastern Caribbean, Khin-Sandi Lwin, has bemoaned the fact that social statistics are “very limited” in this region.

While addressing the opening of a two-day Data Analysis Workshop today on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys which have been done on women and children in some Caribbean islands, including Barbados, Lwin said a lot of emphasis has been placed on economic data.

She continued: “We know what is happening in terms of the economy, even at the poverty levels. But, we really don’t know what is happening on the front of child development, maternal and reproductive health, child health, water and sanitation, HIV and AIDS, sexual behaviour, orphans, literacy and education, [and] nutrition. Most critically, we really don’t know what is happening on the child protection front ≠- the front that is most hidden.”

Lwin pointed out that child abuse was an issue UNICEF and its partners were dealing with on a regular basis.

“But, we really don’t know what the true situation is; we don’t have the statistics to say, ‘this is something that needs policy attention’… So, your work over these next two days is really to highlight what is critical, what stands out as something that needs to be addressed, something that may not sound right [but] alerts those who need to dig more,” she told the participants.

Survey funding

UNICEF provided most of the funding for the survey which was conducted by the Barbados Statistical Service. It started last May and was completed five months later.

Lwin said the analysis of the MICS results would be critical for all stakeholders and expressed optimism that a report on the status of women and children in Barbados would soon be formulated.

Director of the BSS, Aubrey Browne, said the MICS report would be disseminated to policy makers and members of the public.

“This information will cover some of the data gaps that currently exist in available statistics on the island, which can be used for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals. Reporting on these goals is due in 2015,” Browne disclosed.

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