Women, babies at risk as COVID-19 disrupts health services, warns World Bank
PESHAWAR: Millions of women and children in poor countries are at risk because the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting health services they rely on, from neonatal and maternity care to immunisations and contraception, a World Bank global health expert has warned.
Monique Vledder, head of secretariat at the bank's Global Financing Facility (GFF), told Reuters in an interview the agency was gravely worried about the numbers of children missing vaccinations, women giving birth without medical help and interrupted supplies of life-saving medicines like antibiotics.
"We're very concerned about what's happening - particularly in sub-Saharan Africa," Vledder said as she unveiled the results of a GFF survey, one of the first seeking to assess the impact of COVID-19 on women's and children's health.
"Many of the countries we work in are fragile and so, by definition, already have very challenging situations when it comes to health service delivery. This is making things worse."
From late March, the GFF has conducted monthly surveys with local staff in 36 countries to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on essential health services for women, children and adolescents. - Reuters