Health and Human Development

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.

How Should Sri Lanka Finance the COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout?

An effective vaccination strategy is a necessity for countries to move beyond COVID-19. However, it also requires careful policymaking to balance the financial cost of purchasing and delivering vaccines while stimulating economic growth. This article, based on a recent IPS analysis, provides an overview of the approximate costs associated with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Sri Lanka and evaluates policy options to finance the initiative. The authors argue that the government is best off pursuing a medium-term self-financing option through targetted tax interventions and if required, through external financing.

Sri Lanka’s Health Financing Challenge: Why Smarter Spending is Key

Across the globe, the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a new urgency around healthcare systems and universal health coverage – the access to high-quality and affordable healthcare services for all, as and when needed. The limited resources available to address multiple challenges facing the health system point to the critical need for policymakers to explore smarter ways of investing existing funds. This blog examines some areas in which health spending can be made more efficient, drawing from information collected for an ongoing IPS study.

An Appetite for Health: Regulating Sri Lanka’s Food Environments to Fight NCDs

Non-communicable diseases – primarily caused by poor eating habits and inactive lifestyles – claim the largest number of Sri Lankan lives, accounting for 83% of all deaths, compared to a global average of 71%. This blog takes a look at how food environments influence eating habits and highlights the need for examining and regulating Sri Lanka’s food environment to combat the NCD epidemic. Some best practice country examples which could help inform the policy agenda in Sri Lanka are also discussed.

Urban Solutions: Building Pandemic Resilience in Sri Lanka’s Cities

Sri Lanka is experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cities and urban centres have become the hotspots of vulnerability. With their relatively favourable economic conditions and extensive transport networks, cities attract migrants from rural areas, frequently resulting in overcrowding and greater vulnerability to external shocks such as COVID-19. Hence, strengthening resilience of cities and urban settlements to meet health emergencies is a critical part of the national response strategy to pandemics. This blog explains why cities should be focal points of pandemic response planning, and discusses ways to build pandemic resilience in Sri Lanka’s urban areas.

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