How does COVID hurt the fight against other dangerous diseases?
Medikoe Wellness Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Jul 29, 2021
The COVID-19 outbreak has disturbed the prevention and treatment of a number of serious diseases. As nations went into lockdown last year, mass vaccination campaigns for polio, measles, meningitis and more ground to a halt, neglecting millions of children at increased risk of dangerous, preventable diseases. Some health centres were shut, and healthcare workers were redeployed to fight against the COVIS-19 pandemic. Shipments of necessary medicines and devices were checked, and fewer people than normal sought treatment at clinics for anxiety of contracting COVID-19.
Tuberculosis time bomb
Last year, COVID-19 overhauled tuberculosis as the infectious disease that provoked the most deaths across the world; however, in low- and middle-income nations, tuberculosis was still the biggest killer. Since TB progresses so slowly, it gets too soon to determine whether more people died of tuberculosis than expected in the past year. This year, in the month of March, the World Health Organisation said that globally, approximately 21% fewer people underwent care for tuberculosis in 2020 compared to 2019. This indicates a direct fall of 1.4 million, which can form the basis for its estimation that an extra 500,000 people died of tuberculosis last year.
Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the world, global measles cases had risen to nearly 870,000 in 2019, with nearly 210,000 deaths, essentially in young children. This was the highest level in decades, mainly due to the underfunded health systems struggling to keep up with routine childhood immunisations or handle the massive vaccination campaigns they rely on to keep away outbreaks when childhood immunisation rates are low. Therefore, it was a setback in March 2020 when the World Health Organisation announced nations to temporarily suspend all mass vaccination campaigns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three-decade-long initiative to eradicate polio was going behind even before COVID-19 came into the picture, and the pandemic has just turned a bad situation worse.
Last year, in March, the GPEI (Global Polio Eradication Initiative) in Geneva called for a halt in mass vaccination campaigns and repurposed a few of its surveillance and laboratory bases to the COVID-19 battle. More than 60 campaigns in 28 countries were postponed.
As of now, a number of nations remain laser-focused on COVID-19, with old conditions such as TB, measles and polio taking the back seat. However, with the course of the pandemic doubtful and the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out only just rising, no one is addressing when that might actually happen.
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