Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the health of women, children, and adolescents

Impact of COVID-19 in health services in Latin America and the Caribbean

28 September 2020

PANAMA/NEW YORK, 28 September 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly transformed the access and the organization of health services for an indeterminate time, circumventing the efforts made in recent years to improve women, children, and adolescent health indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In most countries, the segmentation of health services, the concentration of human resources and medical technology in some urban hospitals, the under-financing of primary health care and epidemiological surveillance, and the lack of coordination between the different levels of care weaken the coordination of national response actions. Maintaining essential health services for women, children, and adolescents while mitigating the pandemic’s impact represents an unprecedented challenge.

The report Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the health of women, children, and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean presents estimates of the effects of the reduction of health services coverage on achieving or maintaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s Goal 3 targets – reducing maternal, neonatal, and under-5 mortality and guaranteeing universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.

The pandemic and its response make it challenging to reach or sustain these targets, even though the region was well on track to achieve them. Urgent priorities oriented towards achieving women, children, and adolescent health equity during and after the pandemic require to 1) increase public spending on health and social policies to control the pandemic and to favor social and economic reactivation and reconstruction, 2) restore and rebuild essential health services, and 3) strengthen the primary health care strategy.

You can download the report here.

Media contacts

Marisol Quintero
Regional Communication Specialist
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 3017484

Additional resources


# COVID19 is signifying a worrying setback in the health of women and children.

Maintaining essential health services while mitigating the impact represents an unprecedented challenge for the region.

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