Covid-19: Ten million children have lost parents or other caregivers

According to a research report published on Tuesday in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics was published, an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide have lost their parents or other caregivers as a result of the corona pandemic.

Children ages five to 11 wait with their parents to be vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine with their parents outside a childhood vaccination center at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif., Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong , File )

According to the research report by a group of seven doctors from the UK and several African countries, “this can have devastating consequences for children, including institutionalisation, abuse, traumatic grief, psychological problems, teenage pregnancy, poor school performance and chronic and infectious diseases.”

These results are based on new excess mortality figures published by many countries and by the World Health Organization (WHO). economist and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle.

India is the worst-hit country according to WHO figures, believed to be the most conservative. Around 3.5 million children have lost one or more caregivers here. Other Asian countries with high numbers are Indonesia (660,000) and Pakistan (410,000). Some of Africa’s most populous countries are also hard hit, including Egypt (450,000) and Nigeria (430,000).

In the Western Hemisphere, the hardest hit countries were Mexico, the United States and Brazil, which also have the highest total number of deaths in their region.

According to the report’s summary, “little is being done to care for the children left behind.” No national government takes an actual count of children who are orphaned or left behind.

One of the authors, Juliette Unwin of Imperial College London, published a commentary on Wednesday Scientific Americanwhere she explained the group’s results:

As an epidemiologist, I am used to studying waves of infection and measuring the increase or decrease in deaths. While the number of parents and grandparents who have died from Covid ebbs and flows, the number of children orphaned by the death of a significant other is another matter entirely. In all countries, the number of affected children increases steadily from month to month. The death of a mother, father, grandparent or other relative is permanent and significant. A child whose parents died when the pandemic began is still a child without that parent.

Unwin pointed out that two-thirds of the children who lost parents were between the ages of ten and seventeen, and that three-quarters of the time it was the father, not the mother, who was lost. She continued: “However, regardless of gender, in families where the main breadwinner dies, the death of a parent can create sudden and lasting financial problems for the family. On the other hand, the loss of the most important socio-emotional caregiver can impair social cohesion.”

Leave a Comment