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COVID-19: Over 5m children globally lost parents, caregivers

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

A new study has indicated that over five million children globally have lost either a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.

The research published by The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal surveyed mortality data from 21 countries from March 2020 to October 2021.

Among the countries surveyed are Nigeria, the USA, India, Spain.

The researchers in their findings disclosed that more than 5.2 million children had experienced the death of a parent or caregiver due to COVID, noting that more fathers have died from the viral pandemic than mothers.

The study also revealed that by January 2022, more than 6.7 million children lost a parent or caregiver to the pandemic and suggests the pressing need for pandemic responses to concentrate on children affected by the deaths of parents and caregivers.

The study’s authors noted that the largest age group of children that lost a caregiver were those of ages 10 and older.

“We propose integrating care for children into every national COVID-19 response plan.

This approach includes three components: prevent the death of caregivers by accelerating equitable COVID-19 vaccine delivery; prepare families to be safe and nurturing; and protect orphaned children using evidence-based strategies that address their increased risks of poverty, childhood adversity and violence, and strengthen their recovery.”

“Nearly 800,000 children have experienced the death of their mothers, and almost 2·6 million children are estimated to have experienced the death of their fathers.

The largest share of orphanhood among children aged 0–4 years and 5–9 years are in the African region and region of the Americas, whereas the largest share among those aged 10–17 years is in European and Eastern Mediterranean regions,” the study said

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