Home >News >India >Covid-19 disrupts maternal and child care

Across the world, as in India, covid-19 has choked access to routine health care services, medical staff and supplies. A study in The Lancet projects that such disruptions could result in up to 39% additional women dying of pregnancy and childbirth-related issues every month in poorer countries.

The study has been conducted by Timothy Roberton and others of Johns Hopkins University, who estimate excess maternal and child deaths in three scenarios in 118 low- and middle-income countries. The scenarios consider varying covid-19 impact on mother and child care systems and food supplies for children.

The first two scenarios assume resources and medical staff to be reassigned to covid-19 patients. They also include delays in regular antenatal and postnatal care due to the fear of getting infected at the health facility, and medicine and vaccine shortages. In the third scenario, the authors also take into consideration disruption in healthcare access due to the lockdown and stay-at-home orders.

Around 24,500 pregnant women and over 430,000 under-five children die normally per month in the 118 low- and middle-income countries covered in the study. The paper estimates that maternal deaths could rise by at least 12,200 and child deaths by 253,500 over six months due to the situation created by the pandemic. The upper limits are 56,700 and over 1.1 million, respectively.

Based on the estimates, the researchers urge countries to revive routine care systems after the pandemic. They warn that more lives will be lost if this is delayed.

Also read: Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study

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