India expected to register largest increase in child, maternal deaths

United Nations, Mar 18 (PTI):
India is projected to register the greatest increase in the number of deaths among children under 5 in South Asia in 2020 as well as the highest number of maternal deaths as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the country’s health services, a UN report has said. The report also noted that India could spend nearly USD 10 billion on COVID-19 testing and healthcare utilisation by September 2021, the biggest share of the overall costs in the region. The report Direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Asia’ by UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that as of February 2021, South Asia reported more than 12 million COVID-19 cases, with the vast majority being in India, which has reported over 10.9 million cases. The report focuses on six most populous South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and provides a grim assessment of the pandemic’s impact on the child and maternal health, economy, jobs and education in these countries.

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