Covid-19 impact on children

Letter June 25, 2020
World governments need to allocate separate resources to attenuate the impact of the virus

KARACHI: According to a recent report by WHO, millions of children in South Asia could fall into poverty due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. As the pandemic continues to have its toll on individuals across the globe, it could have more disastrous long-term consequences for children, adversely affecting their education as well as their physical and mental health. The report also suggests that the lives of 459,000 children remain in danger after essential health services along with access to immunisation and nutrition remain scarce, due to the pandemic.

A survey by Unicef reveals that about 30% of families in Sri Lanka have reduced their food intake while the deprived families in Bangladesh are struggling to afford three square meals a day. Moreover, the pandemic has severely impacted children’s access to education as students have switched to online learning after the closure of schools. Online classes remain yet another challenge for children in rural areas who lack access to electricity and internet facilities. Besides, thousands of children remain at risk of contracting serious diseases after lockdown measures have hampered vaccination campaigns against diseases such as polio and measles.

World governments need to allocate separate resources to attenuate the impact of the virus. They must ensure sufficient access to water, food and hygiene for children across their country. Schools should guarantee social distancing measures before they even consider to reopen, or else develop proper infrastructure to conduct productive online sessions and ensure students’ access to internet facilities. There is a need for community-based mental health support for children who have faced abuse or suffered from depression.

Nayab Iqbal

Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2020.

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