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Children’s growth and development in the Americas being affected by COVID-19 pandemic, says PAHO Director

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2022. 7:51 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MoECST/MOHW

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to jeopardize two decades of immunization progress in the Americas as children are missing their routine vaccinations, said the Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne.

“Countries are seeing outbreaks of diseases that for years had been under control,” Etienne said at Thursday’s media briefing. Etienne made special mention of outbreaks of measles in Brazil and diphtheria in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Etienne said that parents and caretakers should ensure that the children do not miss their regular medical checkups as these are essential.

“These services were critical before the pandemic, and they remain central to our COVID responses, so our children don’t fall further at risk,” she said.

Etienne pointed out that as the Americas report the highest number of weekly cases since the onset of the pandemic, more children who suffer from diseases, such as diabetes and asthma, are being infected and even hospitalized. She said that though most of them recover, children are also being affected by missing their regular doctors’ visits and not going to school physically.

Etienne said this is jeopardizing their social, mental, and physical wellbeing.

“For some children, schools are safe havens to learn, to socialize, to receive mental health support and to get a nutritious meal,” Dr. Etienne said.

The PAHO Director also asked the ministries of health and education to ensure children go back to school safely.


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