While coronavirus is continuing to weaken health systems and disrupt routine services, UNICEF on May 12 published a report saying an additional 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes over the next six months. The UN agency report is based on the analysis by researchers from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The organisations reportedly said that the recent report was based on the worst-case scenarios in 118 low-and middle-income countries. As per the report published in The Lancet Global Health Journal, UNICEF said that they have analysed that an additional 1.2 million deaths of children under the age of five could occur in just six months. The organisation believes that the deaths could be due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels.
According to the press note, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “Under a worst-case scenario, the global number of children dying before their fifth birthdays could increase for the first time in decades”.
She added, “We must not let mothers and children become collateral damage in the fight against the virus. And we must not let decades of progress on reducing preventable child and maternal deaths be lost”.
Furthermore, the UN organisation also added that some 56,700 more maternal deaths could occur in just six months, in addition to the 144,000 deaths that already taken place in some countries over the same period. Moreover the organisation also listed the 10 countries which could potentially have the largest number of additional child deaths. The countries included, Bangladesh, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Fore added, “The COVID-19 crisis is a child rights crisis. We need an immediate-, medium- and long-term response that not only addresses the challenges created by the pandemic and its secondary impacts on children, but also outlines a clear version for building back a better world when the crisis finally recedes. For that, we need everyone’s ideas, resources, creativity and heart”.