To address health system obstacles that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are collaborating with partner countries to adapt the way essential health care is delivered to avoid disruptions in access to care and help sustain health gains for women and children.

Emmanuel Attramah/PMI Impact Malaria

The COVID-19 pandemic is the fastest-moving global public health crisis in a century and threatens decades of progress in maternal, newborn, and child health care and nutrition (MNCHN) services and the uptake of voluntary family planning and reproductive health care.

COVID-19’s impact on public health is further exacerbated by the economic impact of stay-at-home orders, putting women and children at unintentional risk of poverty, hunger, and gender-based violence.

Recent estimates project up to a 45 percent increase in monthly child deaths and a 39 percent increase in maternal deaths in some countries due to indirect causes like the loss of MNCHN services and voluntary family planning coverage under the most severe pandemic scenarios.1

The pandemic is also testing the overall resilience of health systems, both in COVID-19 response and in the provision of other essential health services. Many public and private health facilities have limited health services due to a lack of skilled health providers and stockouts of medicines, diagnostics, contraceptives, and personal protective equipment.

MOMENTUM’s Approach

We are reviewing the likely effects the pandemic is having on MNCHN, voluntary family planning, reproductive health care, and outcomes such as immunizations, as well as emerging adaptations to mitigate these effects. We are also collaborating with global partners to develop and disseminate a guide to support monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on reproductive health care and MNCHN essential services.


Ensure continuity of lifesaving health care

MOMENTUM is working with ministries of health and local partners to maintain access to quality MNCHN services and voluntary family planning care during COVID-19, including lifesaving care to address maternal and newborn emergencies. We are also concurrently increasing critical prevention interventions that increase overall MNCHN services, including immunizations for children, and water, sanitation, and hygiene.

A health worker stands in a testing center in Madagascar.
World Bank / Henitsoa Rafalia

Strengthen the resilience of health systems to prepare and respond to pandemics

We will help countries restore and stabilize their health systems while increasing their resilience to future acute shocks like infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters. We also plan to help countries embed early warning and response systems to address risks, accelerating the availability of information at community and district levels for quicker planning and action.

A masked woman in Mali stands by a car during the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Bank / Ousmane Traore (MAKAVELI)

Share emerging and evidence-based best practices

We will help countries access and use evidence from previous global disease outbreaks and their effects on MNCHN services and voluntary family planning to shape their short- and long-term pandemic response. We plan to collaborate with USAID partner countries to share information and learn how to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on their health systems. We will also aid health planners to access, adapt, and adopt the latest global technical guidance.

World Bank / Henitsoa Rafalia


  1. Timothy Roberton et al, “Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries,” Lancet Glob Health 8 (2020): e901–08. e901–08

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