By Ammad Abu Haraira
Covid19 has spread all over the world and is having drastic effects on human lives as well as the economies of countries. According to the stats of Saturday, the number of Covid19 patients across the world has increased to 3451871 and deaths caused by this highly contagious virus are 243734. Every country has responded to this pandemic according to the resources they possess. Almost the whole world is under lockdown and a similar situation is prevailing in South Asia including Pakistan, as a result of these restrictions many other health-related activities are affected. There was news circulating in Pakistan that due to COVID19, patients suffering from other lethal diseases are not being paid attention. So far stats suggest that the mortality rate of covid19 is quite low as compared to many other lethal diseases like HIV or HCV etc. and this novel coronavirus doesn’t look to make children seriously ill but indirectly this virus could affect the children health as countries in South Asia have suspended the drives of regular vaccinations. UN on 30th April 2020 expressed that the fallout due to coronavirus could reverse the hard-earned gains in the region and South Asia could face a further public health crisis as children miss their routine vaccination. Coronavirus doesn’t look like it could cause serious damage to children’s health but this disruption of regular immunisation services. As due to the existing lockdown, public transport is not functional and many parents are restrained from taking their children to the doctor. “While the Covid-19 doesn’t appear to make many children seriously ill, the health of hundreds of thousands of children could be impacted by this disruption of regular immunisation services,” said Jean Gough, director of Unicef’s South Asia office. Vaccinations for many other diseases like measles, polio have been suspended in South Asia countries including Pakistan. Countries also suffering from the shortage of vaccines due to the lockdown and travel bans which has disturbed the supply chain. Unicef noted that “Sporadic” outbreaks of preventable diseases that can be cured with vaccination including the measles and diphtheria have emerged in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The agency estimated that 4.5 million children have already missed out on routine immunisations, even before the corona pandemic struck. This is a very serious issue and could have drastic effects on children’s health if not addressed timely. The government must pay attention to this serious issue as it seems to be even more dangerous than coronavirus. The governments should design an appropriate plan about the continuation of the routine vaccinations across the country. The governments should ask all the health workers back on duty and also provide them with all safety equipment and medical transportation within and also between the countries should be resumed to ensure that the country doesn’t run short of vaccination. As long health workers are wearing safety equipment they are safe from coronavirus. This is the only way to continue the regular process of vaccination otherwise South Asia is on the verge of facing another health crisis.