In­dia set to lead post-pan­demic baby boom: UN

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Zia Haq zia.haq@htlive.com n

The pan­demic could strain health care ca­pac­i­ties for moth­ers and new­borns... New moth­ers and new­borns will be greeted by harsh re­al­i­ties

UNITED NA­TIONS RE­PORT

NEW DELHI: In­dia will be at the cen­tre of a baby boom trig­gered by the Covid-18 out­break, which has prompted lock­downs across the world and con­fined res­i­dents in­doors, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the United Na­tions. “The pan­demic could strain health care ca­pac­i­ties for moth­ers and new­borns,” the re­port by Unicef, re­leased on Thurs­day, warned.

“An es­ti­mated 116 mil­lion ba­bies will be born un­der the shadow of the Covid-19 pan­demic,” Unicef said. This rep­re­sents a spike for the pe­riod as­sessed. “New moth­ers and new­borns will be greeted by harsh re­al­i­ties.”

In­dia, with 20.1 mil­lion births, tops the na­tions with the an­tic­i­pated high­est num­bers of births in the nine months since the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) on March 11 de­clared the out­break pan­demic, the UN body said.

In­dia de­clared a three­week na­tion­wide lock­down with ef­fect from March 25 that has since been ex­tended twice, un­til May 17.

Fol­low­ing In­dia will be coun­tries such as China (13.5 mil­lion births), Nige­ria (6.4 mil­lion), Pak­istan (5 mil­lion) and In­done­sia (4 mil­lion).

Ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates of the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund, 141 mil­lion births were recorded world­wide last year, of which 27.2 were in In­dia.

“Covid-19 con­tain­ment mea­sures can dis­rupt life­sav­ing health ser­vices such as child­birth care, putting mil­lions of preg­nant moth­ers and their ba­bies at great risk,” Unicef’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Hen­ri­etta Fore, said in the global re­port.

De­vel­op­ing coun­tries are es­pe­cially at risk, she said.

The UN body made pro­jec­tions for a 40-week pe­riod be­tween March 11 and De­cem­ber 16, 2020, in its es­ti­mate based upon the WHO’s March 11 as­sess­ment.

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