UNICEF has called for urgent requirement of US$164 million to procure oxygen and testing supplies, medical equipment, personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control material to help save lives amid a deadly wave of Covid-19 across South Asia.
The region, home to almost 2 billion people, accounts for half of known new infections globally. Over three new Covid-19 infections are being recorded every second.Mortality in the region is rising sharply, with more than three people dying every minute due to the virus, said the UNICEF in a press statement on Friday.
“The sheer scale and speed of this new surge of Covid-19 is outstripping countries’ abilities to provide life-saving treatment,” said George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia.
“Hospitals are overwhelmed, there is an acute lack of oxygen and other critical medical supplies, and there is a real risk of fragile health systems collapsing,” he said.
During the first wave of the pandemic, an estimated 228,000 children and 11,000 mothers across South Asia died due to severe disruptions in essential health services.
“We’re now looking at a surge that is four times the size of the first. We need to do everything within our power to prevent and treat coronavirus while keeping the critical health care services that children and mothers so heavily depend on running,” Laryea-Adjei said.