Health and Nutrition
Despite the protracted conflict and devastating impact of the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka’s health indicators continue to stand out compared to other South Asian countries. Sri Lanka has an under five mortality rate of 12 per 1,000 (2007), significantly below the Asia-Pacific average of 61, and a maternal mortality rate of 31 per 100,000 live births, well below the regional average of 200. Basic immunisation coverage reached 98% in 2011.
However, maternal and child malnutrition remains a major challenge, adversely affecting children’s physical and intellectual development. Nearly 18 per cent of babies are born with low birth weight. The prevalence of underweight among children aged below five stands at 23.5 per cent. Moreover, significant disparities exist in the nutritional status of children and women across the country. Stunting stands at 13 per cent with district variations; from 8 per cent in Colombo to 23.8 per cent in the hill country district of Nuwara Eliya.
The program is structured to address these issues with three main areas of focus:
• Infant Mortality 11 (per 1,000 live births)