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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Child survival crisis due to maternal undernourishment during the COVID era

Ashu Tyagi; Abhishek Joshi

Published: November 2022   Journal: Medical Journeys
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a global crisis, creating the most challenging times faced by any country. The pandemic created a situation that shocked the whole world. It led to a condition of fear, and the ones to take the major hit were the vulnerable groups: children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as well as those belonging to low socio-economic groups who lost their source of daily income. It increased the pressure on already burdened healthcare and information systems and led to a situation where the well-being of even children and pregnant women could not be maintained. COVID-19 increased the risk of undernutrition in children. Though children are observed to be less affected by the virus, they are the hidden victims of the pandemic in terms of falling prey to undernutrition. Child undernutrition can also be linked to maternal malnutrition, starting from the preconception period through the postpartum period. The situation arose due to the rapid steps of mitigation taken to tackle the pandemic, leading to decreased food security, healthcare, and education. Maternal undernutrition leads to complications for the mother during childbirth and has long-term effects on both. It can lead to low birth weight (LBW) babies, postpartum complications, chronic child undernourishment, and even increased maternal and child mortality and morbidity. Because of the pandemic's disruption of immunization facilities, it appears that even preventable childhood diseases will worsen in the coming years. In these post-COVID-19 times, it has become necessary to take measures to improve the overall health status of the population, with special regard to these vulnerable groups. Proper maternal and child health should be targeted at community levels by introducing interventions that prioritize antenatal and postnatal care, nutritional education, immunization of both mother and child, and proper health and sanitation practices. The purpose of this narrative review is to create awareness about the child survival crisis that may occur in the coming years due to undernutrition and the failure of immunization.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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Each quarterly thematic digest features the latest evidence drawn from the Children and COVID-19 Research Library on a particular topic of interest.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.