1.2 million kids at risk of preventable deaths amid pandemic, study finds

Up to 1.2 million children could die from preventable causes in the next six months as health agencies scale back routine services to respond to the pandemic, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore sought to assess the pandemic's indirect effect on preventable deaths among children 5 and under in 118 low- and middle-income countries. They created three different projections based on varying reductions in healthcare services like vaccinations, prenatal care and family planning.

Every six months, about 2.5 million children die before age 5 in these countries, according to UNICEF. In a worst-case scenario (in which health services fall by 45 percent), preventable deaths would increase by 44.7 percent. If services are reduced by 15 percent, the least severe estimate, deaths could increase by 9.8 percent. 

Researchers also project 56,700 more maternal deaths could occur over the six-month period. At present, about 144,000 mothers die every six months in these 118 countries.

To view the full study, click here.

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