Avoiding indirect effects of COVID-19 on maternal and child health

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The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is challenging the resilience of the most solid health systems in the world. In many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), the disease is rapidly spreading amid numerous endemic health problems such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, and frequent outbreaks of viral infections with high associated mortality. All this occurs in a context of weak health infrastructures that can barely cope with the aforementioned existing health challenges.

WHO is already urging countries to ensure the continuity of health services and programmes, so that even when overwhelmed with the response to COVID-19, the other programmes will be able to continue as effectively as possible. However, fear of the unknown and extensive misinformation are creating a breeding ground that may reverse the progress achieved in basic health indicators such as maternal and child mortality during the past 20 years in many LMICs.

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