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Maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) policies and programs in Sri Lanka: a paradigm for public health in Asia

Authors:

T. C. Agampodi ,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, LK
About T. C.
Department of Community medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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G. S. Amarasinghe,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, LK
About G. S.
Department of Community medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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N. D. Wickramasinghe,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, LK
About N. D.
Department of Community medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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J. N. Warnasekara,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, LK
About J. N.
Department of Community medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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R. Perez-Escamilla,

Yale School of Public Health, US
About R.
Department of Social and behavioral Sciences
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S. B. Agampodi

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, LK
About S. B.
Department of Community medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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Abstract

While many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are struggling to achieve the sustainable developmental goals (SDG) targets, Sri Lanka stands as a unique nation which has had consistently improved maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) outcomes. Understanding the history and context behind successful MCHN policies, strategies and programs that enabled Sri Lanka’s success can offer useful lessons to program planners and policy makers. Historical records indicate that the ancient civilization of Sri Lanka emphasized the importance of health, food security and gender equity. Although the country’s welfare systems were substantially weakened by foreign invasions, Sri Lanka was always able to rebuild its MCHN systems based on evidence-informed public health policies and strategies. The involvement of local communities in the design and delivery of MCHN services partly explains how Sri Lanka has been able to achieve MCHN-related SDGs in the context of limited economic resources. In spite of the strong MCHN performance of Sri Lanka, there is still substantial room for improvement in nutrition and lifestyle behaviors within communities to address the triple burden of malnutrition observed.
How to Cite: Agampodi, T.C., Amarasinghe, G.S., Wickramasinghe, N.D., Warnasekara, J.N., Perez-Escamilla, R. and Agampodi, S.B., 2021. Maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) policies and programs in Sri Lanka: a paradigm for public health in Asia. Sri Lanka Journal of Medicine, 30(2), pp.70–87. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljm.v30i2.328
Published on 30 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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