The potential impact of health care disruption on child mortality in MENA due to COVID-19

Technical brief

a health worker vaccinate a girl


This technical brief summarizes the results for the MENA/EMRO region, of a global study by the John Hopkins University on the potential impact on child mortality and nutrition of health care disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The study adopts the LiST tool to model three impact scenarios of COVID-19. In the most severe scenario, the number of deaths of children under the age of five could increase by nearly 40 per cent, compared with a baseline scenario without the COVID-19 virus. This corresponds to around 51,000 additional child deaths over a period of six months. This potential impact is the result of a combination of a protracted reduction in the supply and demand of primary health care services, including case management of neonatal and childhood infections, child nutrition, essential care in the antenatal period and at birth and immunization.

To prevent these avoidable child deaths, the immediate resumption of essential health and nutrition services for children, pregnant women and mothers should be prioritized along with a package of measures for infection prevention in health facilities and engagement with communities to restore trust in the health system and appropriate health-seeking behaviours among the communities.

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