According to a report released by world-body, UNICEF, Nigeria has overtaken to become the country with the highest number of deaths for children under age 5.
The finding which comes two years earlier than estimates by the World Bank, paints a worrying picture for child and teenage mortality and survival in the country.
The report titled, Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, said Nigeria recorded an estimated average of 858,000 under-five deaths in 2019 against India’s 824,000 deaths out of 5.2 million under-five deaths globally.
These numbers mean that between the two countries, amount to almost a third of all deaths before age 5 globally.
The report also touched on the potential consequence the coronavirus would have on those numbers saying; “While the extent and severity of the mortality impact of COVID-19 on children and youth is still unknown, the potential of a mortality crisis in 2020 threatens years of remarkable improvement in child and adolescent survival from 1990 to 2019, the period covered in this report,
“While current evidence indicates the direct impact of COVID-19 on child and youth mortality is limited, indirect effects stemming from strained and under-resourced health systems; limitations on care-seeking and preventative measures like vaccination and nutrition supplements; socioeconomic strain on parents and households resulting from job loss or economic downturns; and stress to children and parents associated with abrupt societal shifts may be substantial and widespread, ” it read.
“Moreover, many of these indirect effects may not be apparent for some time after the pandemic recedes and may reverberate for an extended period following the pandemic.”