According to a UNICEF study, India is projected to record the highest number of births in the 9 months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, with more than 20 million babies expected to be born in the country between March and December this year.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that pregnant mothers and babies born during the pandemic across the world were threatened by strained health systems and disruptions in services.
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.
The highest numbers of births in the 9 months since the pandemic was declared are expected to occur in India, where 20.1 million babies are projected to be born between March 11 and December 16. Other countries with the expected highest numbers of births during this period are China (13.5 million), Nigeria (6.4 million), Pakistan (5 million) and Indonesia (4 million), it said.
Even wealthier countries are affected by this crisis. In the US, the sixth highest country in terms of expected number of births, over 3.3 million babies are projected to be born between March 11 and December 16.
UNICEF said even before Covid-19 pandemic, an estimated 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns died every year, or 1 every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes.