AN additional 950 Nigerian children could die every day from preventable causes over the next six months as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts routine services and threatens to weaken the health system.
The warning was given by United Nations’ International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) today.
The estimate is based on an analysis by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to the Lancet report.
According to UNICEF, these disruptions could result in potentially devastating increases in maternal and child deaths.
Speaking on the development, UNICEF Nigeria’s Country Representative, Peter Hawkins said the analysis offers three scenarios of the potential impact of COVID-19 in 118 countries, including Nigeria. He added that globally, 6,000 additional children under five could die every day.
In his own explanation, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore stated that the analysis offers three scenarios of the potential impact of COVID-19 in 118 low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. In the worst-case scenario, the estimate is that an additional nearly 173,000 under-five deaths could occur in just six months, due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels – including routine vaccinations – and an increase in child wasting.
According to her, these potential child deaths would be in addition to the 475,200 children who already die before their fifth birthday every six months – threatening to reverse a decade of progress in ending preventable under-five child mortality in Nigeria. About 6,800 more Nigerian maternal deaths could also occur in just six months.
“We have made steady progress in reducing preventable child and maternal deaths in Nigeria over the last 20 years – and it would be devastating if that progress is lost or reversed. Under a worst-case scenario, the global number of children dying before their fifth birthdays could increase for the first time in decades. We must not let mothers and children become collateral damage in the fight against the virus. We have made steady progress in reducing preventable child and maternal deaths in Nigeria over the last 20 years – and it would be devastating if that progress is lost or reversed – devastating for Nigerian families, communities and for the country as a whole,” she said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria recorded new 146 confirmed coronavirus cases yesterday.
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stated this in a tweet posted on its Twitter handle.
According to NCDC, of the 146 cases, 57 were from Lagos, 27 from Kano, 10 in Kwara, nine in Edo, eight in Bauchi, seven in Yobe, and four each in Kebbi and Oyo states.
Other states with new cases include Katsina and Niger, each with three cases, the quartet of Plateau, Borno, Sokoto, and Benue, with two cases each; posting one case each were Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Ogun, FCT, and Rivers states.