National COVID-19 preparedness and response plans: a global review from the perspective of services for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and older people

Alexandra Czerniewska, Alyssa Sharkey, Anayda Portela, Sarah Drapkin, Saqif Mustafa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction Infectious disease outbreaks have historically led to widespread disruptions in routine essential health services. Disruptions due to COVID-19 responses led to excess deaths, including among women and children. This review builds on earlier reviews of essential health services in national COVID-19 response and preparedness plans, focusing specifically on maternal, newborn, child, adolescent and ageing health (MNCAAH) in the context of renewed global emphasis on monitoring, recovering and strengthening these services. Methods Using Google searches, we identified publicly available COVID-19 response and preparedness plans authored by a national government body or Public Health Institute from any country, territory and/or area, published between January 2020 and December 2022. We assessed whether each plan considered maintenance of MNCAAH services with related activities, costing or monitoring plans, and whether these considerations were integrated into the national incident management system for COVID-19. Results We identified plans from 110 countries, representing 56% of our sample, in 10 languages. Most plans came from low-income and middle-income countries. Three quarters of dated documents were published between February and April 2020. 22% of plans referenced the impact of COVID-19 on MNCAAH, but only 13% included a planned activity for monitoring or mitigating this impact and less than 5% included relevant indicators, costing or integration of services in the incident management system. Conclusion We propose that unless content specifically related to the services and needs of these populations is integrated, these services will suffer in a future disruptive event. The COVID-19 response demonstrated the need for an interdisciplinary response to address the unforeseen impacts that arose, yet plans continue to have a narrow focus and a generic approach which may be limiting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere013711
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • Child health
  • COVID-19
  • Maternal health
  • Review

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