The Japan Social Development Fund through the World Bank will support the nutrition improvement in mothers and children in northern Sri Lanka with a US$2.7 million grant (Rs 300 million) for a period of two years to reduce the compounded effects of the cnflict as well as the global food and financial crisis on currently one of the most nutritionally vulnerable populations in the country.
A World Bank statement said approximately 300,000 people were displaced from the Northern Province, most of whom have been resettled back to their original districts and are now in the process of rebuilding their own homes as well as developing their livelihoods. A recently concluded survey carried out by the Medical Research Institute of the Ministry of Health among the resettled population in 2010 reported that underweight and stunting prevalence among less than 5 year olds is notably higher compared to national figures, the statement said.
The project will target specific groups that are most vulnerable to nutrition deficiencies and is expected to benefit the lives of over 125,000 people.
Additionally to providing supplies of nutritious, supplementary food, the project will also set up women’s groups as well as train public health midwives on health, nutrition, hygiene and counseling which will benefit entire communities.
The project will be monitored and managed by the Health Team of the Northern Provincial Council in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Finance Commission and other partners including UNICEF, WFP and WHO.