A woman helps her child to wash her hands as a preventive measure against coronavirus in Mogadishu, capital of Somali. (Photo: Xinhua)
WASHINGTON: The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed some 37 million people into extreme poverty, a majority of them in developing countries, a report released on Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows.
The Goalkeepers 2020 report shows that after 20 straight years of poverty numbers coming down, the disease has reversed the trend.
“The pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the 2,000 shillings (1.9 U.S. dollars) a day extreme poverty line. The poverty line for lower-middle-income countries is 3.20 dollars a day, and 68 million people have fallen below that one since last year,” says the report.
Apart from fanning poverty, the disease has disrupted food access and exacerbated child and maternal mortality.
“Due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, local food markets are less busy and consumers have less money to buy food, which means small-scale farmers are selling and earning less. This is on top of climate stresses that have been getting worse in recent years as well as this year’s locust infestation in East Africa, both of which threaten their livelihoods,” says the report.
It adds that COVID-19 is causing more women than men to suffer and die, in large part because the pandemic has disrupted healthcare before, during, and immediately after childbirth.
“Preventable, treatable complications such as severe bleeding, infection, and high blood pressure cause the vast majority of maternal deaths. Many healthcare workers who used to manage these emergencies, including experienced nurse-midwives, are being diverted to COVID wards,” says the report.
According to the report, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis patients are the other groups that are worst affected by the pandemic, according to the report.
(With inputs from agencies)