India is projected to record the highest number of births in 9 months since Coronavirus declared as pandemic, says UNICEF.
An estimated 116 million babies will be born under the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF said on Wednesday, ahead of Mother’s Day, observed on May 10.
These babies are projected to be born up to 40 weeks after COVID-19 was recognised as a pandemic on March 11.
With 20.1 Million expected births, India tops the list followed by China (13.5 Million), Nigeria(6.4 Million), Pakistan(5 Million).
UNICEF warned that COVID-19 containment measures can disrupt life-saving health services such as childbirth care, putting millions of pregnant mothers and their babies at great risk.
“Millions of mothers all over the world embarked on a journey of parenthood in the world as it was. They now must prepare to bring a life into the world as it has become – a world where expecting mothers are afraid to go to health centres for fear of getting infected, or missing out on emergency care due to strained health services and lockdowns,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “It is hard to imagine how much the coronavirus pandemic has recast motherhood.”
UNICEF said its analysis was based on data from World Population Prospects 2019 of the UN Population Division.
An average full-term pregnancy typically lasts a complete 9 months, or 39 to 40 weeks. For the purposes of this estimate, the number of births for a 40-week period in 2020 was calculated.
The 40-week period of March 11 to December 16 is used in this estimate based upon the WHO’s March 11 assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.