The coronavirus pandemic has decimated gains in the areas of global education, vaccinations, eradication of poverty, and maternal and child health, said Melinda Gates. She was referring to data gathered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report that showed such “devastating” reversals.
“Basically, eight months of COVID reversed gains in almost every category that had been made steadily over the past couple of decades,” she told “Axios on HBO.” According to Axios, 37 million people fell below the $1.90 a day poverty level since the pandemic began. “It’s the difference between being able to put food on your table or not put food on your table and go hungry,” Gates said.
She pointed out that the strides made in global vaccinations of children have regressed because of COVID-19. “What we know is that 25 years of increased vaccinations that have saved children’s lives all over the world has been set back in 25 weeks,” she told Axios.
A recent study found that the pandemic is also reversing the gains the medical community has made to prevent the unnecessary deaths of children. In 2019, preventable deaths of children dropped to an all-time low of just over 5 million, down from the 12.5 million deaths recorded in 1990, according to a report published by UNICEF. But experts say that the coronavirus may reverse this trend because of inadequate and inaccessible healthcare for children and pregnant women.
According to CNN, Johns Hopkins University has been gathering data that says disruptions due to COVID-19 could cause the deaths of an additional 6,000 children every day. The UNICEF report said that “almost half of the under-five deaths will be newborns whose deaths could be prevented by providing high quality antenatal care, skilled care at birth, postnatal care for mothers and their babies, and care of small and sick newborns.”
On a positive note, Gates said that the pandemic-driven, government stimulus checks issued around the world can help alleviate the suffering, especially if the money is given to women.
“When the cash transfer payment goes into the hands of a woman, it’s far more effective,” Gates told Axios. “She spends it on the health of her family. She spends it on food.”
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