In an announcement Thursday, the United Nations warned that the current rate of two million stillborn babies seen globally each year could jump by as much as 10% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If realised, this would lead to a “devastating” toll the UN said.
“Losing a child at birth or during pregnancy is a devastating tragedy for a family, one that is often endured quietly, yet all too frequently, around the world,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said of the possibility.

Today, an estimated 84% of stillbirths occur in low to middle income families with limited access to neonatal care according to a UNICEF / World Health Organisation (WHO) report released in conjunction with the World Bank Group.

The majority of these tragedies take place in sub-Saharan Africa and areas of southeast Asia.

“Beyond the loss of life, the psychological and financial costs for women, families and societies are severe and long lasting. For many of these mothers, it simply didn’t have to be this way” Ms. Fore added.

Mark Hereward, UNICEF associate director for data and analytics, focussed on the possibility of children as opposed to their parents being the worst affected by the coronavirus, albeit indirectly; “(Firstly), due to the massive increase in poverty because of the global recessions,” Hereward said, adding “(The) other way (the unborn child is affected) is through an interruption to health services, either because health workers are reassigned to work on Covid or because people are afraid to go to clinics.”

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