The fight against the coronavirus may be indirect effects devastating in poor countries, such as the death of 6,000 children every day in the next six months, warned Wednesday, UNICEF, calling for urgent action.
According to the worst of the three scenarios considered in a study of the american university Johns Hopkins university, up to 1.2 million children under five years of age living in 118 countries around the world could die in six months, victims of health-care coverage disrupted by the efforts to combat the spread of the disease Covid-19, explains the agency in a press release.
These deaths would be in addition to the 2.5 million children in this age group who are already dying every six months in these countries.
Over the same period, up to 56 700 women may also succumb because of a drop in care before and after childbirth, in addition to the 144 000 who die at the present time.
This balance sheet would remove “decades of progress in reducing preventable deaths among children and mothers,” said the director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore.
“We must not allow mothers and children to be collateral victims in the battle against the virus” that has caused nearly 290 0000 deaths in the world, she added in a press release.
In countries marked by health systems failing, the Covid-19 disrupts the chains of drug supply and access to food, and puts pressure on the human and financial resources, ” says the study, published in the Lancet Global Health.
The measures of fight against the new coronavirus — confinement, curfew, restrictions on travel — and the concern of the populations are to decrease the number of visits in the health centres and medical procedures vital.
The study focused on including family planning, care of pre – and post-natal, childbirth, vaccinations as well as preventive services and care.
UNICEF points out that in mid-April, more than 117 million children in 37 countries, and thus could not have been vaccinated against measles, while the vaccination campaigns have been disrupted by the pandemic.
South Asia would be the region most affected, to the sub-saharan Africa and South America with balance sheets that are particularly high in Bangladesh, India, Brazil, the democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.
It is necessary to “act now to stop the spread of the disease, help the sick and protect the personal emergency,” said UNICEF, which calls on each country concerned to “continue to work to limit the indirect effects on the children” when the epidemic will be slowed down.