India set to lead post-pandemic baby boom: UN
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.