Sri Lanka faces significant challenges in poverty,
child malnutrition

A Nutrition and Food Security Survey report was released yesterday as part of a joint effort with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WFP. This is the first survey to assess the underlying causes of malnutrition in Sri Lanka and the related impact of the increase in global food prices.

The UNICEF and WFP funded survey revealed that there are significant disparities between different regions of the country. While incidence of stunting and underweight was higher in rural areas such as the estate sector and Hambantota, wasting was found to be higher in urban areas including Colombo.

"This survey highlights the importance of targeted food and nutrition interventions to reach those most at risk of malnutrition, especially women and children" said UNICEF Representative, Philippe Duamelle at the launch event.

While Sri Lanka is largely on track to attaining most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), significant challenges relating to poverty and child malnutrition remain including socio-economic and regional disparities, and the quality of public health care.

The WFP Representative for Sri Lanka, Adnan Khan said "Effective joint nutrition interventions are required at all levels in order to reduce the proportion of people suffering from hunger and under-nutrition and achieve the MDGs".

By reducing hunger and malnutrition, Sri Lanka will also be able to achieve the MDGs related to child mortality, maternal health, primary education, gender equality, and HIV/AIDS.

The Nutrition and Food Security Survey was carried out by the Medical Research Institute (MRI) with funding from UNICEF and WFP.

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