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Over 6,000 additional children under five could die everyday: Unicef

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Unicef has said an additional 6,000 children might die worldwide every day from preventable causes in the next six months for the continuation of Covid-19 pandemic to weaken health systems and disrupting routine services.

The mortality estimates are based on an analysis published in The Lancet Global Health journal. The analysis was performed by researchers of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

A press release was issued in this regard on Wednesday.

Based on the worst of three scenarios in 118 low- and middle-income countries, the analysis estimates that an additional 1.2 million under-five deaths could occur in just six months due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels and an increase in child wasting, said the release.

In countries with already weak health systems, Covid-19 is causing disruptions in medical supply chains and straining financial and human resources.

In a commentary on the Lancet report, Unicef warns that these disruptions could result in potentially devastating increases in maternal and child deaths.

“In Bangladesh too, uptake of critical health services for under-five children has decreased significantly due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The service utilization for under-five children of age in March 2020 was down 25% compared to March, 2019,” added the release.

“A large number of children could die from preventable and treatable conditions if the pandemic leads to substantial reductions in health service coverage.

“Unicef is working closely with the Bangladesh government to help ensure that lifesaving care for children and mothers is available, safe and accessible,” said Tomoo Hozum, Unicef Country Representative in Bangladesh.

In addition, key maternal health services such as antenatal care visits and postnatal check-ups at health facilities have decreased substantially, and deliveries in facilities have decreased by 21% for the period of January to March, 2020, compared with October to December 2019.

Note, some 56,700 more maternal deaths could also occur in just six months, in addition to the 144,000 deaths that already take place in the same countries over a six-month period.

 

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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