Side Meetings


Protect our Future: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Maternal and Child Health


  • 18.00 - 20.00 HRS. (BKK)

  • The Partnership Project for Global Health and Universal Health Coverage (GLO+UHC)
  • Ministry of Public Health (MOPH)
  • National Health Security Office (NHSO)
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The COVID-19 pandemic is posing great challenges for maternal and child health both directly and indirectly. The most grievous direct impact is that COVID-19 in pregnancy is associated with increases in severe maternal morbidity, preterm birth, and worst of all, mortality[1]. Although there is no global statistics, in Thailand, for instance, some 40% of pregnant women who passed away in Thailand from October 2020 to September 2021 did so due to COVID-19 infections, according to the Ministry of Public Health[2]. In response, many countries now prioritize pregnant women for vaccinations.

A significant indirect impact is health service disruption. Countries face difficulties in maintaining the provision of high quality, essential maternal and child health services while significant financial, commodity, and human resources are required for response to COVID-19. A WHO survey revealed that the majority of 105 surveyed countries reported some disruption in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and nutrition services[3]. The pandemic also affects users’ side; patients are afraid of infection risk and therefore avoid or delay their healthcare visits. Decrease in antenatal clinic attendance is observed worldwide[4]. Reduction in pediatric attendance is also observed in routine vaccinations[5], health check-ups, emergency department[6], and dental services[7]. It is critical to examine and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal health and child health and development.

In the PMAC side meeting, countries will present challenges in maternal and child health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts implemented to respond to them. Based on the lessons learned, the meeting will further discuss how to prevent and cope with the problems raised above, as well as how to ensure access to essential maternal and child health services under the COVID-19 and any future pandemic threat.


[1] Villar, J., et al., Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Among Pregnant Women With and Without COVID-19 Infection: The INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Study. JAMA Pediatr, 2021. 175(8): p. 817-826.
[2] Wipatayotin, A., Pregnant women at great risk, in Bangkok Post. 2021: Bangkok.
[3] World Health Organization, Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim report, 27 August 2020. 2020, World Health Organization: Geneva.
[4] Townsend, R., et al., Global changes in maternity care provision during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 2021. 37: p. 100947-100947.
[5] Saso, A., H. Skirrow, and B. Kampmann, Impact of COVID-19 on Immunization Services for Maternal and Infant Vaccines: Results of a Survey Conducted by Imprint-The Immunising Pregnant Women and Infants Network. Vaccines (Basel), 2020. 8(3).
[6] Oxford Policy Management and United Nations, Social Impact Assessment of COVID-19 in Thailand. 2020: Oxford.
[7] Üstün, N., B.B. Akgöl, and M. Bayram, Influence of COVID-19 pandemic on paediatric dental attendance. Clinical oral investigations, 2021: p. 1-7.

  • To review direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 pandemic to maternal and child health.
  • To share lessons about what has and hasn’t worked during the crisis in the protection of maternal and child health with participating countries.
  • To identify policy implications on how to respond quicker to protect pregnant women and children from the COVID-19 and any future pandemics.