Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a huge contribution in achieving Millennium Development Goals. United Nations (UN) focus on coming out with strategies that will help poor countries by adopting eight MDGs namely: 1. Eradicate Poverty, 2. Achieve Universal Primary Education, 3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, 4. Reduce Child Mortality, 5. Improve Maternal Health, 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, 7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability and, 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development. Information and communications technologies (ICTs) includes computer, microelectronics and related technologies including microchip and microprocessor-based technologies; multimedia and other information processing technologies and systems; telecommunications technologies and infrastructure. Development without ICTs is not possible. These technologies are serving as key enabler of development of key sectors of the economy. Today, the increasing use and impact of social media changes how people interact. Let us give emphasis on four MDGs and how ICT contributes to reach these goals.
Photo courtesy of World Bank Group
The right information supports in finding a solution to eradicate hunger or poverty. ICTs are effective tools to hear and increase the voices of the poor and serves as the driving force of the economy in every country. The implementation of ICTs to support the development of various sectors of the economy is having an impact on economic progress directly through the growth of the ICT sector and indirectly through its enabling impact on other sectors of the economy. Aside from that, the use of ICTs within the economy of countries are contributing to employment generation in a number of sectors of the economy. ICTs promote access to updated information to trigger rapid responses by relevant government agencies and other governing bodies or organizations to combat hunger and eradicate poverty. We cannot deny the benefits gained of using technology in communication such as; efficient service, source of employment for citizens, rising of e- business as a new concept of service delivery, and many more. According to Kieran Duff, “ICTs also help to develop societies from agricultural to industrialize and now to the “information society”.
Achieve Universal Primary Education
Photo taken from Payson Center’s IDEV 4100
One of the popular applications of ICTs in a number of countries is that ICTs facilitate educational delivery at all level of the educational system. ICTs help to improve and increase the extent of access to educational resources. According to Professor Clement Dzidonu, President of Accra Institute of Technology (AIT), “the deployment of ICT-based educational delivery and support technologies and resources to complement the traditional mode of education as step towards reducing physical, geographical and social barriers to education can also be identified as one area in which countries are using these technologies to support education delivery at various level of the educational system”. Reduction of physical and social barriers to education, promoting efficiency in education through the use of e learning and other devices to improve learning. Moreover, through the ICT, the quality of teaching develops. Today, many public schools already have computers, LCD projectors and monitors that will help to improve the learning of students and many universities have laboratories and internet that will support education. Through the proper use of these technologies, fast access to information is possible and students can be more productive.
Reduce Child Mortality
Courtesy of Reuters
A number of countries recognized the use of ICTs to promote and facilitate the delivery of health services. In the modern era, there has been a significant boost and range of mobile network. Mobile phones usage and network coverage has rocketed at a very surprising rate. Through the use of modern technology, the lives of many infants has been saved. Health information can be instantly communicated via mobile phones as text messages. According to UN- Secretary General Ban Ki moon, “As we look to accelerate our progress on the health MDGs, the need for innovation has never been more paramount. Harnessing cost-effective and lifesaving technologies can have a vast impact on the health of women and children, help us reach those in countries or situations of greatest need, and tackle key areas of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.” However, Diseases that can be cured or prevented are still taking lives: diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Pregnancy and childbirth, which should be sources of joy, remain all too threatening. Through an effective health promotion and disease prevention programs, infant and child mortality improves. Telemedicine or the use of telecommunication and information industries to provide clinical health care at a distance also became popular in some countries. With the help of ICTs, delivering health information to pregnant women and mothers of the newborn is possible.
Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Courtesy of UN Millennium Development Goals
Environmental sustainability aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. Environment is a complex system to improve human health condition, sustaining agricultural and other primary production, and reducing risks of disastrous floods as well as wildfires, mudslides and other natural disasters. ICT’s contribution in environmental sustainability is used as a tool for raising awareness and for knowledge sharing. ICT is a good example of how to protect people from natural disasters. Topics such as climate change and global warming have generated a lot of discussion. The relationship between ICTs and the environment is complex and multifaceted, as ICTs can play both positive and negative roles. Positive impacts can come from dematerialization and online delivery, transport and travel substitution, a host of monitoring and management applications, greater energy efficiency in production and use, and product stewardship and recycling. Negative impacts can come from energy consumption and the materials used in the production and distribution of ICT equipment, energy consumption in use directly and for cooling, short product life cycles and e-waste, and exploitative applications.
Over 15 years of MDG with 8 goals, today we are now facing SDG with 17 goals by the year 2030, and the people are looking forward to achieve these goals. Indeed with the help of ICT our lives will get better and improve.