By Constance Ndeleko
Don’t let children be the hidden victims of COVID-19 pandemic—UNICEF
The world is currently united sharing a similar and a tough monster that is invisible COVID-19. With the rapid spread of the virus that has no cure yet, it has forced humanity to change their normalcy of doing things and to start practicing measure that will help protect and prevent them from contacting the virus.
About ninety-nine percent of the world’s children live with some form of the pandemic-related movement restrictions; Sixty per cent of them live in countries with full or partial lockdowns, says UNICEF.
While our eyes are firmly focused on how to avoid or treat COVID-19, the serious consequences that will challenge us far beyond the current pandemic – the hidden impacts – are not yet front of mind. This must change.
“Not only are children and young people contracting COVID-19, they are also among its most severely impacted victims. Unless we act now to address the pandemic’s impacts on children, the echoes of COVID-19 will permanently damage our shared future.
“According to our analysis, 99 per cent of children and young people under 18 worldwide (2.34 billion) live in one of the 186 countries with some form of movement restrictions in place due to COVID-19. Sixty per cent of all children live in one of the 82 countries with a full (7%) or partial (53%) lockdown – accounting for 1.4 billion young lives.
We all must understand that this pandemic is no different from the rest. We must be vigilant since the young and the most vulnerable suffer disproportionately amid any crisis.
It is our responsibility to prevent suffering, save lives and protect the health of every child. We must also ensure that risk-informed decisions on COVID-19 control measures are made based on the best available evidence in order to minimize and prevent any collateral damage, and to provide mitigation measures so the damage is not lasting
“This starts with resisting the temptation, in times of potential global recession, to deprioritize investment in our future. Increased investments now in education, child protection, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation will help the world reduce the damage caused by this crisis and avoid future crises. The world will open up again, and when that happens, the resilience of the weakest health systems will be the gauge of how well we will do against future threats.”
“Countries and communities around the world must work together to address this crisis. As we have learned painfully in the past two months, until there is a vaccine, coronavirus anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. We need to act now to strengthen health systems, as well as other child-focused social services, to keep track with global development priorities, in every country around the world.”
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