UNICEF: Understanding the interruption of essential health services by COVID 19 to guide recovery
'With more than two hundred days into the COVID-19 pandemic, and over one million deaths, the challenges in access and availability of data to monitor essential health services have been evident. Complementing the socioeconomic impact survey, Health programme in UNICEF Programme Division, in collaboration with 43 country offices and all regional offices, made a comparative analysis of the coverage of essential health services during the period April to June in 2019 and the corresponding period in 2020. The set of tracer indicators selected were antenatal care, institutional delivery, cesarean section, care of sick newborn, post-natal care, immunization (Penta/DPT3), pneumonia and diarrohea treatment.'
Selected extract: 'The degree of disruption varies considerably amongst countries and regions. Countries in South Asia and Latin America region have been affected much more as compared to those in Sub-Saharan Africa.'
Comment (NPW): The brief looks particularly at antenatal care, institutional delivery, cesarean section, care of sick newborn, post-natal care, immunization (Penta/DPT3), pneumonia and diarrhoea treatment. It does not refer to the WHO Guidance on Maintaining essential health services, but proposes a number of 'country actions'. I recognise some of these from the WHO guidance, but I wonder how the guidance from WHO and UNICEF complements and reinforces each other? Is there a risk that policymakers are faced with guidance from different UN agencies that are inconsistent?
Best wishes, Neil
Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: HIFA project on Essential Health Services and COVID-19
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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG firstname.lastname@example.org