Effective interventions to ensure MCH (Maternal and Child Health) services during pandemic related health emergencies (Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19): A systematic review

PLoS One. 2022 May 10;17(5):e0268106. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268106. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Ensuring accessible and quality health care for women and children is an existing challenge, which is further exacerbated during pandemics. There is a knowledge gap about the effect of pandemics on maternal, newborn, and child well-being. This systematic review was conducted to study maternal and child health (MCH) services utilization during pandemics (Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19) and the effectiveness of various interventions undertaken for ensuring utilization of MCH services.

Methodology: A systematic and comprehensive search was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL, Embase, Epistemonikos, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar. Of 5643 citations, 60 potential studies were finally included for analysis. The included studies were appraised using JBI Critical appraisal tools. Study selection and data extraction were done independently and in duplicate. Findings are presented narratively based on the RMNCHA framework by World Health Organization (WHO).

Results: Maternal and child health services such as antenatal care (ANC) visits, institutional deliveries, immunization uptake, were greatly affected during a pandemic situation. Innovative approaches in form of health care services through virtual consultation, patient triaging, developing dedicated COVID maternity centers and maternity schools were implemented in different places for ensuring continuity of MCH care during pandemics. None of the studies reported the effectiveness of these interventions during pandemic-related health emergencies.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that during pandemics, MCH care utilization often gets affected. Many innovative interventions were adopted to ensure MCH services. However, they lack evidence about their effectiveness. It is critically important to implement evidence-based appropriate interventions for better MCH care utilization.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Maternal-Child Health Services*
  • Pandemics
  • Pregnancy
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus*

Grant support

SP BHU/100/2020/31 United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) www.unicef.in The funders had role in decision to publish the manuscript.