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Children In South Asia Could Face Health Crisis Amid COVID-19: UNICEF

UNICEF has highlighted that because of the current COVID-19 lockdown, routine immunisations have been severely disrupted at many places which may give rise to vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria

Children In South Asia Could Face Health Crisis Amid COVID-19: UNICEF
Highlights
  • Mass vaccination campaigns have been postponed because of COVID-19 lockdown
  • South Asia has 4.5 million unimmunised or partially immunised children
  • UNICEF suggests governments to intensify immunisation once lockdown is over

Kathmandu: Expressing concerns over the disruptions caused in immunisations due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday that South Asia could face yet another health emergency if children across the region did not receive their life-saving vaccine shots. Almost a quarter of the world’s unimmunised or partially immunised children—about 4.5 million children—live in South Asia. Almost all of them, or 97 per cent, live in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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With lockdowns in place as a part of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response, routine immunisations have been severely disrupted, and parents are increasingly reluctant to take their children to health centers for routine jabs.

Sporadic outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and diphtheria, have already been seen in parts of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. The South Asia region is also home to two of the last polio endemic countries in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Paul Rutter, Regional Health Advisor for UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) said,

Vaccine stocks are running dangerously low in some countries of the region as supply chains have been disrupted with travel bans and cancelled flights. The manufacturing of the vaccines has also been disrupted, creating additional shortages.

Many of the health facilities throughout the region, where millions of children are normally vaccinated, have been closed and outreach sessions have been suspended, adding to the challenge.

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South Asia could face yet another health emergency if children across the region do not receive their life-saving vaccine shots, the UNICEF said. Mr. Rutter said,

“As long as frontline health workers take the appropriate precautions, particularly washing their hands, there is no reason not to vaccinate – in fact, it is crucial that vaccination continues.”

Across the region, national mass vaccination campaigns have been postponed. Bangladesh and Nepal have postponed their national measles and rubella campaigns while Pakistan and Afghanistan have suspended their polio campaigns. The UNICEF strongly recommends that, where immunization campaigns are suspended, governments begin rigorous planning now to intensify immunization activities once the COVID -19 pandemic is under control. “We are very concerned about the impact of not getting children vaccinated,” says Jean Gough, Director of UNICEF ROSA.

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World

24,29,84,542Cases
20,45,14,204Active
3,35,32,126Recovered
49,38,212Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,29,84,542 and 49,38,212 have died; 20,45,14,204 are active cases and 3,35,32,126 have recovered as on October 23, 2021 at 3:51 am.

India

3,41,59,562 16,326Cases
1,73,7282,017Active
3,35,32,126 17,677Recovered
4,53,708 666Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,59,562 confirmed cases including 4,53,708 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,73,728 and 3,35,32,126 have recovered as on October 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,99,850 1,632

27,747 152

64,32,138 1,744

1,39,965 40

Kerala

48,97,884 9,361

81,490 603

47,88,629 9,401

27,765 563

Karnataka

29,85,227 378

8,920 97

29,38,312 464

37,995 11

Tamil Nadu

26,92,949 1,152

13,531 259

26,43,431 1,392

35,987 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,62,781 478

5,398 102

20,43,050 574

14,333 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,069 1

85 22

16,87,085 23

22,899

West Bengal

15,84,492 846

7,577 42

15,57,882 792

19,033 12

Delhi

14,39,526 38

340 29

14,14,095 8

25,091 1

Odisha

10,37,523 467

4,197 139

10,25,025 603

8,301 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,799 26

214 8

9,92,013 18

13,572

Rajasthan

9,54,396 1

32 4

9,45,410 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,378 25

165 9

8,16,126 16

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,729 8

80 8

7,82,126 16

10,523

Haryana

7,71,133 8

122 9

7,60,962 17

10,049

Bihar

7,26,045 3

30 0

7,16,354 3

9,661

Telangana

6,69,932 193

3,963 4

6,62,025 196

3,944 1

Assam

6,08,126 315

3,866 104

5,98,296 209

5,964 2

Punjab

6,02,163 28

230 4

5,85,382 24

16,551

Jharkhand

3,48,562 36

183 17

3,43,244 19

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,799 12

166 10

3,36,235 22

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,494 108

870 56

3,26,195 52

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,312 174

1,483 31

2,17,096 141

3,733 2

Goa

1,77,819 54

600 18

1,73,862 72

3,357

Puducherry

1,27,621 57

454 0

1,25,314 56

1,853 1

Manipur

1,23,107 56

906 440

1,20,294 494

1,907 2

Mizoram

1,16,689 745

9,636 398

1,06,653 1,143

400

Tripura

84,376 7

98 7

83,462 14

816

Meghalaya

83,269 59

698 37

81,128 94

1,443 2

Chandigarh

65,320 5

28 2

64,472 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,075 10

141 1

54,654 9

280

Sikkim

31,842 23

183 2

31,266 25

393

Nagaland

31,689 19

245 5

30,766 23

678 1

Ladakh

20,896

40 3

20,648 3

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,679 1

4 0

10,671 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

6 1

7,511 1

129

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