Around 40 percent of Sri Lankans have resorted to livelihood-based coping strategies by reducing their spending on education and health owing to the current economic crisis, says the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, in its latest annual report.
The 73rd Annual Report of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka released recently (April 27), has laid out the extent of the country’s worst economic crisis, in more than 70 years.It says that last year wages failed to keep up with the soaring cost of everything, from food to fuel.
Resorting to livelihood based coping strategies by reducing their spending on education and health could eventually lead to deterioration in long term nutritional conditions and wellbeing, says the report. “The latest official assessment of the Family Health Bureau of Ministry of Health, that was conducted under the concept of Nutrition Month in October 2022, on nutritional status of children, under five years, reveals that the nutritional status of children deteriorated in 2022,
reflecting the decline in household wellbeing, during the economic crisis. The assessment results indicate a worsening in all major nutrition indicators for children, particularly, stunting, wasting, and underweight in the under five-year age category. At the national level, the percentage of underweight children, under five years, increased to 15.3 percent, in 2022, from 12.2 percent in 2021. Both stunting and wasting among children, under five years, increased to 9.2 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, in 2022, from 7.4 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, recorded in 2021.”
“According to the Remote Household Food Security Survey of the World Food Programme (WFP), which consists of 2,137 surveys across all nine provinces conducted through a computer assisted telephone interviewing data collection approach, the food security status of the country remained vulnerable, as at end 2022, with 68.0 percent of the population adopting food-based coping strategies by limiting portion sizes, reducing the number of meals, and relying on less preferred food.
“According to the Survey, child malnutrition has deteriorated in most districts, exacerbating the existing nutrition anomalies among children across the country. The Nuwara Eliya District had the highest percentage of stunted children, with a reported percentage of 22.8 percent, while the Colombo District had the lowest percentage of stunted children of 5.1 percent. Further, the Nuwara Eliya District reported the highest percentage of underweight children, under the age of five, at 23.9 percent, while the Colombo District had the lowest percentage of underweight children at 9.8 percent. It is apparent that nutrition anomalies in the country have been persisted despite government intervention efforts, and these inequalities are likely to worsen during economic crises, unless addressed cohesively.”
courtesy The Island
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