Corona puts children at serious risk of malnutrition

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DHAKA, Dec 29, 2020 (BSS) – The coronavirus has put the entire world at serious risk. The virus which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has become a pandemic for the whole world. In the socio-economic crisis caused by the Corona surge, 3.9 million children under the age of five in South Asia could suffer from malnutrition this year. These can worsen mental and physical well-being of children.

A study published recently in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ revealed this worrying the picture.

Referring to the study report, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that children will be more vulnerable to the pandemic than any other disease.

According to the study published in Lancet, children around the world are more likely to be at risk of serious illness from the lethal virus. More than half of this — about 58 percent (3.9 million) — will be in south Asian countries.

UNICEF described the illness as very risky as children become more vulnerable to Corona due to extreme malnutrition. As a result, they become very thin and weak. This put the child’s life at risk and hinders their sound physical growth and mental development.

The study says children under the age of five more likely to be malnourished this year in low and middle-income countries due to the Covid surge. This problem will become much more evident in South Asia as health services was stopped for long in the region due to outbreak of the virus. Officially vaccination for children and feeding of vitamin were discontinued for several months. Although the service was rendered privately somewhere, it was beyond the reach of poor people.

The health situation all over the world is very dire. If emergency measures are not taken, the number of children suffering from acute illness this year could rise to around 40 million. According to UNICEF, the number of children suffering from acute illness in the world could reach a level not seen in this millennium. Statistics showed that after the outbreak of Corona in Bangladesh, the number of the children suffering from acute illness getting admission to hospital has been reduced by 75 percent.

Besides the UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said that nutrition issue is not getting importance in the context of the Corona pandemic, especially in the poor and middle-income countries. To avoid this inevitable situation, UNICEF has made an urge of an emergency fund of $240 million.

According to the health expert, Dr Benazir Ahmed, “The health sector is one of the largest sectors in the country. Before COVID-19, in true sense, none could have realized the significance of this department. After the onset of the epidemic, the government has also given much attention to this sector. Although the country went through many fragile conditions in the last ten months, the Corona situation in Bangladesh is still much better than other countries in the world.”

“Children, however, are becoming the victims of the prevalence of coronavirus pandemic. Like other countries in the world, the second wave of Covid is going on in Bangladesh coinciding with winter. Generally in winter, children get sick with various diseases. Parents have to be much more aware of this so that every child can be protected from the onslaught of the deadly virus.”

It was found that many people are unable to take proper care of their children due to financial crisis caused by the Corona pandemic. Manny children do not get nutritious food due to financial reasons of parents and sometimes due to ignorance. To build a beautiful future for the child, every child has to be given nutritious food.

Dr Benazir said, “It is not possible for the government alone to do this. Various non-governmental organizations side by side with the government have to come forward to serve the vast population. The government, however, has to do the main task to protect child health. Through proper planning and implementation, it is possible to solve the malnutrition problem of children.”