Wimal Nanayakkara

COVID-19 and the Burden of Child Undernutrition in Sri Lanka

The nutritional status of children under five in Sri Lanka has not shown a significant improvement for the last 20 years. It has also been lagging behind most of the other health and social indicators on children. IPS research shows that household income, inadequate nutrient intake, breastfeeding practices, mothers’ education, etc., play a major role in child undernutrition in Sri Lanka. Moreover, given significant losses in household income experienced at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, nutrient intake may have declined further over the past year. As such, it would be a challenging task for health planners to develop effective strategies to minimise undernutrition among children under five years. This article highlights some of the facts contributing to child undernutrition in Sri Lanka and suggests ways to address this critical issue.

Sri Lanka’s Post-COVID-19 Recovery: The Need for Inclusive Economic Growth

High levels of inequality impede sustainable growth and development of a country. Sri Lanka made impressive strides to reach an upper middle-income country (UMIC) status in July 2019, only to slip back a year later. The COVID-19 crisis, amid growing inequities, is likely to make the task of regaining UMIC status even harder. This blog highlights the main sectors and social groups that are adversely affected, and explains the need for inclusive economic growth (IEG) post-COVID-19 for Sri Lanka to emerge as a peaceful and developed country.

Education Equity in Sri Lanka: A Pathway out of Poverty

With the closure of schools following the COVID-19 outbreak and the sudden shift to online learning, poor children with no access to e-learning opportunities risk falling even further behind. In this context, some proposals made in Budget 2021 to improve the education system and reduce poverty will benefit poor children who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This blog highlights some of the education-related difficulties faced by poor children in Sri Lanka based on HIES data and the recent budget proposals which could help them to overcome these difficulties.

Controlling NCDs in Sri Lanka in the Age of a Pandemic

This blog highlights the incidence of NCDs, by sex, age groups and income levels, based on the Household Income and Expenditure Survey-2016, (HIES-2016), conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS). It also discusses directions for future research on NCDs and provides recommendations to tackle the NCD challenge.

(Not) in the Same Boat: Who is Hit Hardest by the COVID-19 Wave in Sri Lanka?

The World Bank has estimated that around half a billion people worldwide could slip into extreme poverty, due to the spread of COVID-19, and subsequent control measures taken by governments. Although Sri Lanka has low levels of extreme poverty, the stringent measures taken to control the pandemic will have a devastating effect on the poor. This blog highlights the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable Socioeconomic Groups (SEGs) in Sri Lanka, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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