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COVID-19 could undermine progress in education and healthcare

Countries of Europe and Central Asia continue to make progress in healthcare and education, but face obstacles due to COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank’s report assessing the Human Capital Index (HCI) says.

Thanks to continued investment in healthcare and education during childhood and growing-up years, young people in Europe and Central Asia region are provided with opportunities they need to grow up to be highly productive. However, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undermine the progress made to date.

«Governments face great challenges in sustaining health and education services amid restrictions imposed to protect public health, including school closures,» the report says.

At the same time, the World Bank experts stress that the labor productivity of a child born today in Kyrgyzstan, upon reaching the adult age, will be 60 percent of potential productivity (the world average is 56 percent). This means that the Kyrgyzstanis and the country as a whole lose 40 percent of their future economic potential.

«Governments in Europe and Central Asia have made great progress in prioritizing investments in health and education, which are the main engines of economic growth and development. However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic require an even stronger response, including increased use of technology to improve service delivery, as well as improved social assistance programs, which in its turn will provide the population with high-quality health care and educational services,» said Anna Bjerde, Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia.