The pandemic outbreak is having a deadly impact all over the world and most importantly threatening the progress of other life taking diseases such as TB, AIDS, and malaria. Not only diseases but also maternal and newborn healths are also under the wrath of Covid-19.
Before coronavirus came into existence, tuberculosis was the most infectious disease that killed numerous people world wide. About 1.5 million people die every year due to TB. But in the present situation, due to the lockdowns and disruptions in the health centers, the diagnosis, and treatment needed for this disease somewhat came to a halt. According to the reports of Stop TB Partnership, during the lockdown period, there has been a 10% increase in TB deaths which means 1.4 million excess deaths.
The same case prevails for HIV treatments. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are about 25.7 million people affected with HIV and amongst them, 16.4 million are under antiretroviral therapy. But because of coronavirus, all HIV services are closed. The supply chains that deliver antiretroviral therapies are all disrupted causing major health issues to the patients and this could lead to more than a half-million excess deaths during this year, which is even more than the doubling death toll of 2018. “The terrible prospect of half a million more people in Africa dying of AIDS-related illnesses is like stepping back into history”, said the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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WHO had predicted that there will be 768000 of malaria deaths this year, 70% of them consist of children less than 5 years. About 27 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had experienced 85% of malaria deaths. These countries were routine to distribute insecticide-treated net (ITN), which is one of the primaries to control malaria. But in the prevailing lockdown scenario, the wholesale process is being disturbed which has resulted in the worst condition for the ones affected with malaria.
Apart from HIV, TB, and malaria, the condition of global health outlook is equally pathetic. A prediction by Lancet Global Health states that there will be 2.3 million deaths of children fewer than 5 years, due to all causes, this year. According to WHO, a minimum of 80 million children, who are under 1 year are severely at risk. Routine check-ups and vaccination processes for diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, cholera, tetanus, etc., had been disrupted in more than 65 countries, making the infants prone to these deadly diseases. Not only the infants but also the women, especially those who belong to the lower middle class, do not get easy access to contraceptives and thus that results in unwanted pregnancies. Records claim that around 15 million women are going through pregnancies that are not intended.
It is needful to look into the present scenario of the pandemic, but investing all the resources and attention to it, and ignoring the progress of global health is seriously not a thing to do. All the countries worldwide should find new ways to tackle both, the pandemic as well as other health issues. Regular and scheduled health services such as immunization, maternal, child care, contraception, treatments of malaria, TB, and AIDS, should be available in all countries and all conditions.