10 things to know about the growing COVID-19 crisis in South Asia


4. Health systems are on the verge of collapse.

Unlike India, some of the last countries to experience an epidemic do not have the same number of health clinics or doctors to respond to a crisis of this magnitude. The Maldives, for example, is a tiny island nation struggling with the highest number of daily cases per million people in the world.

“Her health system is under strain,” says Paul Rutter, Regional Advisor, Maternal and Child Health, UNICEF South Asia. “80% of the COVID-19 treatment facilities in the capital are already occupied.”

5. It’s not just people with COVID-19 at risk.

As with any national emergency, it is also those who are in desperate need of further emergency health care.

“As resources are diverted and services saturated, essential health services on which children and mothers depend so heavily – including routine immunization services, treatment for diseases like pneumonia and malnutrition and antenatal care for pregnant women – again at risk of being compromised. , if not completely closed, ”says Rutter.

Recent estimates suggest that in 2020, 228,000 children under 5 and 11,000 mothers have died due to disruptions to essential health services in South Asia.

6. Children are in danger.

“As cases of COVID-19 have increased, the direct impact on children of contracting the virus has also increased,” says Mr. Rutter. “Fortunately, most cases of COVID-19 in children are mild.”

As UNICEF closely monitors the growing number of children receiving COVID-19, we are also concerned about the secondary impacts on their physical and mental well-being. In this wave, we are seeing entire households getting sick, which means that some children are losing entire networks of parents and caregivers.

This not only endangers their own health, but also exposes them to neglect and abuse.


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