Direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Asia
Over recent decades, South Asia has made remarkable progress in improving the health of mothers and children. But the year 2020 brought a great shock to South Asia, as it did to the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had major and multiple impacts – both direct and indirect. One of the critical indirect impacts has been severe disruptions to the delivery and use of routine services, including essential health and nutrition services. The region saw significant drops in the use of both preventive and curative services. Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia uses a series of exercises based on actual observed changes in services and intervention coverage to model impacts on mortality, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions due to COVID-19. It also models the impact of nationwide stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 on maternal and child mortality, educational attainment of children, and the region’s economy. The study focuses on South Asia’s six most populous countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and makes the case for interventions and strategies to minimise these indirect consequences.