COVID-19 is biggest threat to child progress in UNICEF’s 75-year history

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The wide interaction of the pandemic continues to deepen, the study warned, expanding poverty, entrenching inequality and threatening the rights of children similar ne'er before. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest menace to advancement for children successful our 75-year history,” said Henrietta Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director. 

“While the fig of children who are hungry, retired of school, abused, surviving successful poorness oregon forced into matrimony is going up, the fig of children with entree to healthcare, vaccines, capable nutrient and indispensable services is going down. In a twelvemonth successful which we should beryllium looking forward, we are going backward.” 

100 cardinal much children successful poverty 

The report, Preventing a mislaid decade: Urgent enactment to reverse the devastating interaction of COVID-19 connected children and young people, was issued up of UNICEF’s landmark day connected 11 December. 

COVID-19 has pushed a staggering 100 cardinal much children into poverty: a 10 per cent summation since 2019. This corresponds to astir 2 children each 2nd since mid-March of past year, erstwhile the pandemic was declared. 

UNICEF said adjacent successful a best-case scenario, betterment to pre-pandemic levels volition instrumentality up to 8 years. 

Education unopen down 

Furthermore, immoderate 60 cardinal children are present surviving successful “monetary poor” households, and much than 23 cardinal person missed retired connected indispensable vaccines, the highest fig successful much than a decade. 

Prior to the pandemic, astir 1 cardinal children worldwide suffered astatine slightest 1 terrible deprivation, specified arsenic deficiency of entree to education, health, housing, nutrition, oregon sanitation and water.  Unequal betterment is pushing the fig higher. 

The study details different areas wherever backsliding occurred, specified arsenic successful education. At the highest of the pandemic, much than 1.6 cardinal students were unopen retired of schoolhouse owed to lockdowns.  Schools were closed worldwide for astir 80 per cent of in-person acquisition clip during the archetypal twelvemonth of the crisis. 

Child labour connected the rise 

Worldwide, much than 13 per cent of adolescents aged 10 to 19 are affected by deteriorating intelligence health.  UNICEF reported that by October 2020, captious intelligence wellness services successful 93 per cent of countries were disrupted oregon halted owed to coronavirus spread. 

Additionally, up to 10 cardinal much kid marriages could hap earlier the extremity of the decennary arsenic a effect of the pandemic, portion the fig of kid labourers has risen to 160 million, a astir 8.5 cardinal summation successful the past 4 years. Rising poorness means an further 9 cardinal boys and girls are besides astatine risk. 

Beyond the pandemic, the study warns of further threats to children that jeopardize their rights.  

UNICEF said 426 cardinal children globally, oregon astir 1 successful 5, unrecorded successful struggle zones which are becoming much intense, with women and girls astatine the highest hazard of conflict-related intersexual violence.  

Eighty per cent of each humanitarian needs are driven by conflict, the bureau added, and astir fractional the world’s children, immoderate 1 billion, unrecorded successful countries that are astatine an highly high-risk’ from the impacts of clime change. 

A young miss  empties h2o  collected from the furniture  of a stream  successful  a flood-affected colony   successful  Pakistan. (file)

© UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

A young miss empties h2o collected from the furniture of a stream successful a flood-affected colony successful Pakistan. (file)

‘At a crossroads’ 

More than 7 decades since its establishment, UNICEF continues to enactment for a amended aboriginal for each children. 

“We are astatine a crossroads,” said Ms. Fore. “As we enactment with governments, donors and different organizations to statesman charting our corporate way for the adjacent 75 years, we indispensable support children archetypal successful enactment for concern and past successful enactment for cuts.” 

In the look of the ongoing pandemic, increasing conflicts, and the worsening clime emergency, UNICEF continues to telephone for concern successful societal protection, arsenic good arsenic inclusive and resilient recovery. 

Action is needed to extremity the pandemic and reverse the rollbacks successful kid acquisition and nutrition, the bureau said, including done leveraging its relation successful vaccine distribution. 

Building backmost stronger volition besides mean ensuring prime education, extortion and bully intelligence wellness for each children.  Additionally, caller approaches are needed to amended forestall and respond to crises, specified arsenic famines, clime alteration and disasters, successful bid to support children. 

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