Early Estimates of the Indirect Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Maternal and Child Mortality in Low-income and Middle-income Countries: a Modelling Study

The Lancet

While the COVID-19 pandemic will increase mortality due to the virus, it is also likely to increase mortality indirectly. In this study, the authors estimate the additional maternal and under-5 child deaths resulting from the potential disruption of health systems and decreased access to food.

The estimates are based on tentative assumptions and represent a wide range of outcomes. Nonetheless, they show that, if routine health care is disrupted and access to food is decreased (as a result of unavoidable shocks, health system collapse, or intentional choices made in responding to the pandemic), the increase in child and maternal deaths will be devastating. The authors hope these numbers add context as policy makers establish guidelines and allocate resources in the days and months to come.