Lowest maternal mortality rate in South East Asia: Universal primary education target achieved: Lanka has reduced child mortality rate:
Sri Lanka is in the forefront of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) agenda. It has already achieved several MDGs, especially in the health and education sectors. Sri Lanka has also made great strides in poverty alleviation, child and maternal mortality rates and gender equality. Sri Lanka is on track to achieve the targets for most of the indicators by 2015, the Second Millennium Development Goals Progress Report said.
The report was launched at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo yesterday with the participation of Finance Deputy Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama and UNDP Resident Representative Neil Buhne.
According to the report, Sri Lanka has the lowest maternal mortality rate (MMR) in South East Asia and the country has achieved considerable success in reducing MMR. Sri Lanka has been extraordinarily successful in reducing the child mortality rate over the last half century. At its current level of 11.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, IMR is lower than that achieved by countries considerably wealthier than Sri Lanka.
The report said poverty in Sri Lanka declined from 26.1 percent in 1990-91 to 15.2 percent in 2006-07. The country is on course to attain the MDG target of halving poverty (down to 13 percent) at the national level by 2015. Mahinda Chintana has developed suitable approaches which are implemented , to stimulate economic growth and ensure it trickles down equitably.
The report said Sri Lanka has almost achieved the universal primary education target with net enrollment rate reaching 97.5 percent in 2006/07 for both males and females.
At this rate Sri Lanka will achieve the target of 100 percent well before 2015, if present trends are continued, it said.
Sri Lanka has almost reached gender parity in primary education with the `ratio of girls to boys in primary education’ reaching 99 percent in 2006/07. In secondary and tertiary education, the proportion of girls to boys exceeds 100 percent indicating that there are more girls than boys in secondary and tertiary levels of education. This also needs the attention of the authorities, the report said.
The report said Sri Lanka still remains as one of the few countries in the region with a low level HIV epidemic. High literacy, the relatively high status of women and good access to healthcare services act as a protective barrier against the spread of HIV infection in Sri Lanka, it said.
Sri Lankan Government has developed a national multi-sectoral strategy to combat HIV/AIDS and majority of the sectors have progressed satisfactorily. The overall malaria situation in Sri Lanka is improving significantly and a sharp drop in the number of reported cases (196 in 2007) with no deaths, demonstrate that the National Malaria Control Program has been effective, even in the traditional disease-prone Northern districts.
According to the same report, Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the countries on track to achieve goals set by the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone layer. The Mahinda Chintana has outlined the Government’s resolve to ensure environmental sustainability by focusing on sustainable management of forest resources for protection of the environment and biodiversity. As there are regional disparities it is the responsibility of all the authorities to develop suitable strategies and implement them effectively in all the regions (districts).