Like many other countries, Sri Lanka faces numerous challenges in the battle against COVID-19. The pandemic has caused deep uncertainty and presented a colossal challenge for the country’s healthcare system. With the rapid increase in cases and the emergence of new variants, Sri Lanka began to face shortages of medical resources, including hospital beds and medical equipment. The vaccination programme was beset with a host of problems early on due to the irregular and inconsistent supply of vaccines, disorganised deployment and deviation from the scientifically agreed prioritisation. There was also alleged misreporting of COVID-19 daily statistics in the Gampaha district and Eastern Province. The absence of real-time data acted as a hindrance to obtain a reliable risk assessment in the country. Against this backdrop, this blog examines the gaps in the ongoing pandemic control programme and outlines ways to bridge these gaps so that more lives could be saved from COVID-19.
This blog, based on a forthcoming IPS publication, discusses the impact of tobacco spending on other basic needs. The findings of the study show that spending on tobacco results in households foregoing other critical expenditure.
Implementing tobacco control policies to reduce smoking prevalence will enhance the economic well-being of people, particularly the poor, as it would free up more resources for basic needs such as food and education, resulting in a positive gain for the whole economy. For a developing country like Sri Lanka, it is essential to integrate tobacco control measures into poverty alleviation policies and programmes to benefit the individual, the household and the national economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a public health crisis, and morphed into a global economic crisis, with severe impacts on commercial activity, employment, and trade. In Sri Lanka, the pandemic has affected revenue streams of many businesses in the country. The impact is more harshly felt by unprotected workers. This blog discusses key issues that need to be rectified in Sri Lanka’s labour market policies to face similar emergencies in the future.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and preschools have been closed for nearly three months and until further notice. Missing out on school meals may lead to nutritional deficits of thousands of poor children in Sri Lanka. This is a grave situation, as nutritional shocks during childhood can result long-term effects on health and education outcomes. Given this context, the blog will discuss some steps that can be taken to mitigate nutritional fallouts among vulnerable children.