The UN’s children agency warned that an additional 6,000 children could die every day from the preventable causes over the next six months as the coronavirus pandemic has weakened the health systems and disrupted the routine services.
As the coronavirus outbreak has entered its fifth month, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has requested USD 1.6 billion to support its humanitarian response for the children impacted by the pandemic. As per the report, the health crisis is becoming a child rights crisis and without urgent action, a further 6,000 under-fives could die each day, it said.
With a dramatic increase in the costs of supplies, the agency appeal is up from a USD 651.6 million request, which was made in late March, reflecting the devastating socioeconomic consequences of the disease and families’ rising needs. The UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on Tuesday that the schools are closed, parents are out of work and the families are under strain.
“As we reimagine what a post-COVID-19 world would look like, these funds will help us respond to the crisis and recover from its aftermath and protect the children from its effects,” Fore said. The estimate of the 6,000 additional deaths over the next six months is based on an analysis by the researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published on Wednesday in the Lancet Global Health Journal.
UNICEF said that it was based on the worst of three scenarios. It analysed the 118 low and middle-income countries, estimating that an additional 1.2 million deaths could occur in just the next six months, due to the reductions in routine health coverage, and an increase in child wasting.
Reportedly, around 56,700 more maternal deaths could take place in just six months, in addition to the 144,000 likely deaths across the same group of countries. The worst-case scenario, of children dying before their fifth birthdays, would represent a spike for the first time in decades, Fore said. “We must not let mothers and children become collateral damage in the fight against the novel coronavirus. We must not let decades of progress on reducing preventable child and maternal deaths be lost,” she said.