Young child mortality at low, progress compromised by COVID-19

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PARIS | Young child mortality reached an all-time low in 2019, but this progress is at risk of being compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic, which deprives them of access to healthcare in poor countries, warns the United Nations Wednesday.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

“The number of deaths of children under five reached its lowest level in 2019, with 5.2 million against 12.5 million in 1990,” said in a joint statement several UN agencies, including Unicef ​​(childhood) and WHO (health).

“Over the past 30 years, health actions aimed at preventing or treating the causes of infant mortality – such as prematurity, low birth weight, complications during childbirth, pneumonia, diarrhea or malaria – as well as vaccination have played a big role in saving millions of lives, ”they continue.

But the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undermine this progress, they warn: “All over the world, health interventions for children or mothers are being interrupted, due to lack of resources or fear. to contract COVID-19 ”.

According to a study carried out by Unicef ​​in 77 countries, 68% of them have faced this type of interruption of vaccination programs or medical visits for children.

“The global community has made too much progress in eliminating preventable causes of death in children to let the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to it,” commented Unicef ​​Director Henrietta Fore, cited in the press release.

“Without urgent investments to restart interrupted health care and services, millions of children under 5, and especially newborns, could die,” she continued.

“The fact that there are more children reaching their first birthday today than at any other time in history is proof of what is possible when the world places health and goodness -Be at the center of its actions ”, for his part estimated the boss of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

But “we must not let the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardize this remarkable progress for our children and future generations”, he pleaded.

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