Every year, the world celebrates World Children’s Day on November 20. A day that celebrates children, World Children’s Day, promotes child rights and their welfare. According to the United Nations, parents, teachers and people from different walks of life play a crucial role in the celebrations.
The entire world has been struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. A pandemic that started in China spread across the globe within a month and claimed the lives of several people. As a result of the outbreak, a lockdown was imposed in the country and people were forced to stay indoors.
Normal activities like playing outdoors, taking walks and visiting public places turned into luxuries as people were advised to remain indoors. As normal life came to a standstill, several people including children felt mental stress. Adapting to changes and accepting the ‘new normal’ took a toll on the mental health of several people.
From attending classes online to not going out for playing, children also struggled due to the outbreak and battled issues. Constant efforts must be made to ensure that the mental health of children does not take a hit. Parents and teachers must strike conversations with children to help them as the country wages a war against the pandemic to ensure their well-being.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned in a new report of significant and growing consequences for children as the COVID-19 pandemic lurches toward a second year. Averting a Lost COVID Generation is the first UNICEF report to comprehensively outline the dire and growing consequences for children as the pandemic drags on.
In a press release made available to journalists today in Bauchi, UNICEF while commemorating World Children’s Day warned of a ‘lost generation’ as COVID-19 threatens to cause irreversible harm to children’s education, nutrition and well-being.
The international organization expressed worry that while symptoms among infected children remain mild, infections are rising and the longer-term impact on the education, nutrition and well-being of an entire generation of children and young people can be life-altering.
“Since the pandemic started, there has been a false belief that children are not affected by COVID-19,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
“Nothing can be further from the truth, including in Nigeria. While children are less likely to have severe symptoms of illness, they can be infected and the biggest impact by far is the disruptions to key services and increasing poverty rates, which are both having a huge impact on Nigerian children’s education, health, nutrition and well-being. The future of an entire generation is at risk – globally and in Nigeria.”
The new UNICEF report finds that, as of 3 November, in 87 countries with age-disaggregated data, children and adolescents under 20 years of age accounted for 1 in 9 of COVID-19 infections, or 11 per cent of the 25.7 million infections reported by these countries. In Nigeria, children in the same age group accounted for 1 in 10 infections or 11.3 percent of total infections.
The report maintained that while children can transmit the virus to each other and to older age groups, there is strong evidence that, with basic safety measures in place, the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them, the report notes. Schools are not a main driver of community transmission, and children are more likely to get the virus outside of school settings.