According to a report on African health statistics, published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the 1st of December, the Covid-19 pandemic has not only impacted the management of major diseases in Africa but has also slowed down the achievement of targets for programmes to reduce maternal and child mortality. These targets were set in 2015 as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The level of maternal and child deaths in Africa impacts on global outcomes, as “Nearly 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, more than half of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, with many deaths occurring in West and Central Africa,” according to the report.
This high rate of deaths is due to several causes: among others, complications during pregnancy or childbirth, chronic malnutrition for children, and the insufficient number of healthcare structures and qualified personnel, especially in rural areas. This situation has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic insofar as qualified health personnel have been requisitioned to ensure the management of coronavirus cases. In addition to that, the security situation in several African countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, is also an obstacle to the implementation of health policies.