NGO calls for maternal, child health services as more babies, young children contract COVID-19

NGO calls for maternal, child health services as more babies, young children contract COVID-19
Save the Children Philippines called on local government units to put in place protective measures for children whose parents contract COVID-19.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV, file

MANILA, Philippines — A non-government organization on Thursday sounded the alarm on the rising number of children affected by the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), calling on local health centers to resume maternal and child health services.

In a statement, nonprofit Save the Children Philippines cited numbers from the Department of Health's COVID-19 tracker, which showed that 424 young children have transmitted the new pathogen, leading to nine deaths.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine, persons below 21 or over 60 years old, as well as those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities and other health risks, are required to remain in their residences at all times as they are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

“No child should die from preventable causes,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.

“Children who die from COVID-19 may have been suffering from acute malnutrition or wasting caused by hunger with complications such as pneumonia and dehydration due to diarrhea,” he added.

According to the NGO, severe malnutrition caused by hunger and undernutrition caused 48% of child deaths in the Philippines, surpassing global rates of 45%.

Based on the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey, the growth of one in every three children below five years old is stunted due to child malnutrition in the country. 

As of the health department's last update on Wednesday, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stands at 10,004. 

The death toll of the virus is 658, while 1,506 have recovered and survived it. 

Save the Children Philippines also earlier called on local government units to put in place protective measures for children with parents who tested positive for COVID-19, as the latter could face discrimination for their family's health status or worse, be isolated and orphaned once their parents get hospitalized. 

According to doctor Amado Parawan, health and nutrition advisor of Save the Children Philippines, adequate nutrition to prevent stunting and micronutrient deficiency will contribute to strong immunity to illnesses especially during disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine did not only create a situation that posed challenges to the nutrition programs for severely malnourished children as operations of health centers have been disrupted, worse, it has resulted to the inability of families to meet their basic food requirements due to income losses,” Parawan said. — Franco Luna

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

A thread of major news, developments and government pronouncements related the extended community quarantine across the country. Real-time updates about the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines are available in this live blog. (Main image by AFP/Ted Aljibe)

August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

The province of Laguna and the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro will be placed on lockdown until the middle of August, Malacañang announces.

"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beginning Aug. 6 until Aug. 15, 2021," presidential spokesman Harry Roque says in a statement.

Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro have been under the strictest quarantine classification since July 16. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

June 11, 2021 - 4:28pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 6,686 COVID-19 infections, bringing the national tally to 1,300,349.

  • Active cases: 61,345 or 4.7%% of the total
  • Recoveries: 3,190, pushing total to 1,216,497
  • Deaths: 196, bringing total to 22,507
August 3, 2020 - 7:14am

President Rodrigo Duterte approves the recommendation of Cabinet members to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says the new quarantine measures will be imposed starting midnight of August 4 and will stay in place until August 18.

June 29, 2020 - 12:32pm

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 imposes a moratorium on the transit of locally stranded persons in Western Visayas, Cebu island, Mactan, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

"Wala na po silang lugar para mag-quarantine," IATF spokesperson Harry Roque says in a virtual briefing. 

(They have no place to undergo quarantine anymore.)

June 28, 2020 - 4:29pm

The Department of Health announces 485 "fresh" COVID-19 cases on Sunday, June 28.

Another 168 are "late" cases, or "released to patients four days ago or more."

Most of the cases are still from the National Capital Region, with 245 "fresh" and 111 "late."

Central Visayas accounts for 120 "fresh" cases and 11 "late" ones. 

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