Coronavirus, commonly referred to as COVID-19, is transmitted through droplets that spread when an infected person coughs or sneeze land on nearby surfaces. It originated from China but has now gained the world’s attention through its spread to other nations.
Good personal hygiene, good hand washing practices and self-isolation remain the main recommended and adopted measures by the government for containing the disease.
There is a potential threat to the pillars of child survival and maternal health as many nations are now shut down or closed to being totally shut.Immunization coverage, practice of exclusive breastfeeding, good complimentary diet for children, effective child growth monitoring and family planning uptake among other pillars of child survival will suffer drastic decline thereby exposing children to hazards hence, a reduction in their chances of survival.
Most children in low and middle income countries died from vaccine preventable disease hence a drastic measure by the government to ensure vaccination of all her children. To increase immunization coverage a door to door administration of some vaccine was initiated. Door to door approach in combination with other strategies has been shown to be effective in the increase of immunization coverage.
Inability to administer the vaccines to the children at the appropriate time as well as inability to monitor the vaccine storage to ensure proper storage at such a time as this can result into expiration and loss of the vaccine potency.
Also, at this time of the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, the effectiveness of the door to door administration of vaccines as well as the entire immunization coverage rate will suffer a decline if proper strategies to ensure its continuation is not put in place.
To ensure compliance with the routine childhood immunization schedule; mothers at this time will have to visit clinics. Though, the health facilities are not shut down but how many women or mothers will like to risk going for clinics? It exposes them and their children to the virus.
More so the location of some of the health facilities where mother can ensure the continuation of their new born immunization schedule might pose a great threat as mass transportation can expose them and their new born to the virus as well.
The COVID-19 restrictions will also pose a direct or indirect threat on safe motherhood. Safe motherhood ensures care of woman and her child through: access to contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancies, access to skilled care at delivery and prompt access to quality emergency obstetric care.
Antenatal care clinic visit has been a great tool in the improvement of maternal health as it increases the knowledge of pregnant women, early detection of complications and fostering of early identification of risk factors among other importance.Social distancing and the daily decline in the approved number of persons allowed to gather as a means of containing the pandemic (COVID-19) can impose a negative influence on the number of pregnant women going for antenatal clinic to seek care. Therefore, the patronage of alternative medicine is inevitable.
The influence of the various restrictions as a result of the pandemic disease (COVID-19) on the family socio-economic status also has the potential of affecting the affordability and willingness of the family to access care.
If workable measures to ensure proper care are not put in place; the resultant effect of the various strategies put in place by the various government to contain the pandemic disease (COVID-19) has the tendency to either directly or indirectly crash the pillars of child survival and also threaten maternal health.
Personnel who carry out door to door vaccination should be provided with necessary protective gadgets and training so as to still be able to reach their target population.
Online antenatal clinic: Creation of online platforms for example social media platform (e.g WhatsApp) where health worker can still reach pregnant women with necessary health information and intervention.
Online child care clinic: Creation of online platforms for example social media platform (e.g WhatsApp) which aim at providing an avenue for mothers to report various child illnesses and get prompt professional recommendation or directive for correct line of action.
Availability of a mobile number for mothers to call for the vaccination of their new born at home as at when expected.
As relieves are being shared it can be accompanied with the vaccination of children who are due for vaccination.
Relief and early payment of salaries to reduce the effect of the isolation on the family socio-economic status which can directly affect good complimentary diet, continuation of exclusive breastfeeding and many other pillars of child survival.
Use of various media platforms (radio, television, internet etc.) to emphasize the various strategies for pregnant women, nursing mother and new born to cope at this season of COVID-19 disease outbreak.
Good neighborliness: stake holders, community members, humanitarians, philanthropist etc. should extend their kind gestures and support to the less privileged, low socio-economic families and the vulnerable groups so as to reduce the effect of the restrictions due to the pandemic outbreak (COVID-19) on their livelihood.
Abraham Tanimowo is a child development and family studies specialist. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Federal university of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB). He is presently undergoing a postgraduate study in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria with the aim of obtaining a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. He also has professional certification in project management as well as in health safety and environment
He is a young, smart and strategic individual with a great passion for public health and family life research with a special focus on the health, education and social well-being of children, adolescents and mothers.