The COVID-19 pandemic kills the most vulnerable, among them, are kids whose immunity weakened by malnutrition, the UN report said. The novel pathogen may have indirectly contributed to around 228,000 additional child deaths in South Asia in 2020, the experts added.
The UNICEF report published on Wednesday blamed significant “cuts in the availability and use of essential public health services” because of the COVID-19 indirect impact. The most vulnerable Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are home to 1.8 billion people.
In 2020, corona infection may have indirectly contributed to around to 11,000 maternal fatalities and 3.5 million unwanted pregnancies, the UNICEF reports said. The fall-off of these critical services has had a negative impact on the health and nutrition of the poorest families
The UNICEF regional director George Laryea-Adjei stressed that it is vital that the health services are fully restored for children and mothers who are in desperate need of them. However, even where health services were not shut down, the number of people visiting them declined.
Asia children suffer from COVID pandemic
With some 420 million children in South Asia out of school due to the pandemic, the report also warned that nine million children were likely never to return to school, the report added.
As the UNICEF stressed, this, in turn, is expected to lead to an increase in child marriages, resulting in an additional 400,000 adolescent pregnancies. Additionally, there is an increase in the number of maternal and neonatal deaths, and in the rates of children’s growth stunting.