Left Menu
Development News Edition

Life-saving services to likely be disrupted, as COVID-19 progresses: UNICEF chief

“At a time like this, these countries can ill-afford to face additional outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases”, asserted the UNICEF chief.

UN | Updated: 27-03-2020 07:11 IST | Created: 27-03-2020 07:11 IST
Life-saving services to likely be disrupted, as COVID-19 progresses: UNICEF chief
UNICEF is “particularly concerned” about countries battling measles, cholera or polio outbreaks while simultaneously responding to COVID-19 cases. Image Credit: Pixabay

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is overstretching health services, medical goods are in short supply, and transport disruptions have left supply chains facing "historic strain", according to the head of the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.

As health workers are diverted to support the response, "physical distancing is leading parents to make the difficult decision to defer routine immunization", Henrietta Fore said in a statement on Thursday, adding that flight cancellations and trade restrictions have "severely constrained access to essential medicines, including vaccines".

"As the pandemic progresses, critical life-saving services, including immunization, will likely be disrupted, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where they are sorely needed", she stated, highlighting that children from the poorest families in conflict and natural disaster-affected countries were at "the greatest risk".

Measles, cholera, polio – immunization essential

UNICEF is "particularly concerned" about countries battling measles, cholera or polio outbreaks while simultaneously responding to COVID-19 cases. Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Philippines, Syria, and South Sudan fall into that category.

Not only would such outbreaks tax already stretched health services, but they could also result in more deaths and greater suffering.

"At a time like this, these countries can ill-afford to face additional outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases", asserted the UNICEF chief.

"The message is clear: We must not allow lifesaving health interventions to fall victim to our efforts to address COVID-19".

UNICEF is committed to supporting basic health care and immunization needs in the worst affected countries in a way that limits the risk of COVID-19 transmission, by working to ensure adequate vaccine supplies in countries that need them.

The agency is working with global vaccine suppliers to ensure production and providing support to governments to maintain vaccine supplies during the pandemic.

Plan ahead

While Governments may have to temporarily postpone mass vaccination campaigns to ensure that delivering immunizations does not contribute to spreading the coronavirus, UNICEF "strongly recommends" that Governments begin "rigorous planning now", to intensify immunization programs once the pandemic is under control.

"These vaccination activities must focus on children who will miss vaccine doses during this period of interruption and prioritize the poorest and most vulnerable children", Ms. Fore explained. To successfully roll-out an effective vaccine against COVID-19, when it becomes available, immunization programs must remain robust and accessible to those that most need inoculations. "As the world's biggest buyer and supplier of vaccines, UNICEF will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting governments' current and future immunization efforts", the UNICEF chief concluded.

Students missing out

Meanwhile, as nationwide school closures disrupt education for more than 80 percent of students around the world, UNICEF announced that it would scale up support in 145 nations to help to learn to continue, safely.

"It is an unprecedented situation and unless we collectively act now to protect children's education, societies and economies will feel the burden long after we've beaten COVID-19", said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Global Chief of Education. "In the most vulnerable communities, the impact will span generations".

Based on lessons learned with the school closures in response to the Ebola epidemics of recent years, UNICEF maintains that the longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to ever return.

Giving children alternative ways to learn also rebuilds a routine, which is critical to the coronavirus response.

UNICEF has allocated $13 million to support Governments and education partners to develop plans for a rapid, system-wide response to include alternative learning programs and mental health support.

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



All party meeting - Blocking dialogue not culture of Bengal, Mamata needs to speak up

If that happens, history will record it as the dark age of Bengal....

Diya Jalao for COVID 19: How Modi put Power Grids and power warriors at risk?

While Prime Minister Narendra Modis staunch supporters are busy in search of hidden science behind the sudden announcement of 9minutes9pm campaign but his ignorance of the actual science has put the nation in another danger. The scientists ...

'Diya jalao' for COVID 19: Modi needs to practice his teachings and control fake news on social media

In his video message to the nation on Friday the Prime Minister talks about peoples collective power to win the invincible. However, he has made no concreate efforts to win over the confidence and represent the collective power of the polit...


Latest News

Rolls-Royce to ditch targets and suspend dividend - FT

UK aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce will abandon its targets on profits, cash and deliveries, and suspend its dividend, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Financial Times reported late on Sunday.Rolls-Royce is also aiming to announce new cre...

Scots' medical chief resigns after flouting own coronavirus rules

Scotlands Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood resigned on Sunday after she broke her own advice to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by visiting her second home this weekend and last. Calderwood said that during...

INSTANT VIEW-Market reaction to UK PM Johnson's hospital admission

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday in what Downing Street said was a precautionary step because he was showing persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus. T...

Italy's virus deaths plunge to lowest since March 19

Italian officials said Sunday they may soon have to consider easing restrictions after seeing the daily coronavirus death toll plunge to its lowest in over two weeks. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection s...

Give Feedback