COVID-19’s Fatal Upshot – the Death of Mothers and Children
The national data management center for health (NDMC), under the Ethiopian public health institute, has conducted a study on the indirect impact of COVID-19 on maternal, neonatal and child mortality. Broadly speaking, the study has estimated and shown the occurrence of the pandemic as it will bring an unprecedented death on children and mothers due to poor service utilization at health center.
Although the effect of the pandemic is estimated to have an indirect impact on infant, child and maternal mortality, NDMC has identified two catastrophic scenarios that might fuel the situation due to a decrement in health service utilization. First, the repurposing of health resources from other essential health services for the prevention and control of COVID-19 is expected to be a major source of problem. Second, and most importantly, it has been shown that the community’s fear of contracting COVID-19 virus while visiting health posts, health centres and hospitals might reduce the utilization of health services as witnessed in some areas of the country.
In a nutshell, the estimation made on the mortality rate has put a ballpark figure on child loss. In that regard, the study has estimated that if the mortality rate grows from15% to 50% for a year, it would result in 10,252 to 41,945 additional child losses. In technical senses, for an assumed decrement in the coverage of MNCH by 25% and 50% for a year, there would be 379 and 4,038 additional maternal deaths respectively. On the other hand, for a 25% and 50% decrement in coverage of interventions, there would be an additional 1,673 to 13,294 stillbirths.
With that in mind, it goes without saying that there is a life hazard on children and mother. Hence, the study has recommended that continuous campaigns which are geared toward creating public awareness to use the RMNCH services, antenatal care, vaccination, health service delivery, curative care need to be made on a continuous basis. Moreover, health facilities must be equipped and empowered to treat cases of COVID 19 in a way that does not harm the service provision of other essential health services.