A recent paper published in the Lancet Global Health 2020, indicates thought provoking and worrisome estimates of under-5 child mortality due to the inaccessibility caused by the pandemic. A reduction anywhere between 39% and 51% in coverage of services related to family planning, antenatal care, child vaccinations, postnatal care and childcare, could increase wasting levels by 50% resulting in an additional 1 million child deaths over 6 months in low- and middle-income countries.
The pandemic should be used as an opportunity to build resilience and intervene in a focused manner, identifying individuals and households that are vulnerable to malnutrition. The government needs to provide the much-needed fiscal impetus to strengthen health and nutrition services and ensure their continued delivery. Leverage the network of frontline workers and the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to do this.