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Panama presents a unique tool in Latin America to measure child poverty


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Panama presents a unique tool in Latin America to measure child poverty

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:37

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The multidimensional poverty in children and adolescents in Panama is 32.8 percent, according to an unpublished measurement tool in Latin America presented today by the country that will help it to identify with greater precision the special deficiencies of this sector of the population.

The Panamanian vice president and chancellor, Isabel De Saint Malo, explained that the so-called Multidimensional Poverty Index of Children and Adolescents (IPM-NNA) is a complement to traditional monetary measures, since it takes into account all the elements that make up child poverty.

The index, endorsed by the UN and the University of Oxford, points out that multidimensional poverty affects, on average, 32.8 percent of children between 0 and 17 years old in Panama, and that it has an incidence of 45.6 percent.

Poverty, however, does not affect all provinces equally and increases considerably in the indigenous districts of Guna Yala, Ngäbe-Buglé and Emberá, where the index reaches 99.3 percent, 95.4 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

The central provinces of Los Santos (9.8 percent), Herrera (12.1 percent), and the Panamanian capital (19.6 percent) have the best data, according to official information.

"This instrument provides much more accurate information to ensure that public policies target the most vulnerable children and adolescents are those who suffer from more simultaneous deprivation, what is not measured is not achieved," said the vice president and chancellor.

The poor, she said, are not only people without money, but also those without education, decent housing, and access to drinking water or public hospitals near their home, among other benefits.

The index, based on the Alkire and Foster methodology, was presented in the framework of the X Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; in which representatives of some twenty countries of the region participate, as well as high-ranking representatives of the UN.

Panama already launched in 2017 a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) at a general level, which it updates annually and in its last installment notes that about 778,000 people live in poverty conditions, which represents 19.1 percent of the total Panamanian population.

"Panama has managed to get 150,000 Panamanians out of poverty, many are missing, we recognize it, but it is not a small thing and it fills us with joy to know that we are on the right track, not only is it important to move forward, it is important to move forward at the required speed," declared De Saint Malo.

Although Panama's economic growth is lower than it was a few years ago, the country continues to be one of the main regional drivers and in 2017 its gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 5.4 percent.



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