Sri Lanka’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2013 was 0.750, positioning it at 73 out of 187 countries. This rate is above the average of 0.735 for countries in the high human development group and above the average of 0.588 for countries in South Asia (UNDP, 2014). Sri Lanka further shows impressive national health indicators, especially for maternal and child health (MCH) and HIV/AIDS. Sri Lanka has a well-networked health system in place from village to national level and has broad policies in place that cover most family health and reproductive health concerns, maternal and child health and family planning. These are provided through a health infrastructure consisting of a referral network of dispensaries, maternity homes and graded hospitals servicing defined geographical areas.
A closer examination of national data shows that regional disparities in data exist, especially among conflict-affected areas in the North and East, districts that are also economically underperforming, and the estate sector legislation needs to be revised and policies need to be reviewed from rights-based perspective. There is still much to be done especially in terms of rights and services for vulnerable sub-populations of women (such as young girls from rural backgrounds, widows, sex workers, female headed households and single unmarried women who are vulnerable due to cultural and social norms that stigmatise them) and those from sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons).
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