The impact that Covid-19 is having on the world's most vulnerable children is enormous. We simply cannot turn our backs on them. The poorest of the poor are seriously feeling the affects of this virus, causing many of them and their families to face some incredibly desperate situations.

While medical professionals are reporting that Covid-19 has a lower mortality rate for the young, with a pandemic of this size, it will inevitably take some of the youngest from us. And for children living in communities with less developed healthcare systems, they will be even more vulnerable to the disease.

But beyond the heart-breaking number of lives that will be lost due to contracting the disease, we know that there are other, long-term impacts on children that will be just as devastating. Here are a few of the ways we anticipate this situation affecting children.  



Education 

The UN estimates that nearly 1.5 billion children and youths are out of school around the world due to Covid-19. Many of the world’s poorest children have no access to the internet at home or electronic devices with which to engage in online learning. These are the same children who already have lowered outcomes in school because of the impacts of poverty: school interruptions due to an inability to pay fees, difficulty focusing on schoolwork because of labour activities, etc. In short, COVID-19 could put those who are the most disadvantaged even further behind in school. 

radio-blog-body-v2.jpgIn Ethiopia, radios are being used to help children without technology access lessons during Covid-19. Click here to read story.

Child Labour 

Child labour around the world has been steadily decreasing with rising incomes. However, as unemployment rises, child labour may as well, as children are forced to help their parents feed the family. If children are orphaned or become the heads of household, they may have to drop out of school to provide for themselves and their siblings. 
 

Child abuse 

Tragically, countries are seeing indications that domestic violence is rising during this crisis. In some countries, calls to helplines are up, while reports of child abuse are down with children out of school. Some experts believe that the pandemic might increase child marriage as families move below the poverty line due to income loss. Europe is also reporting that criminals are using the pandemic to exploit children online. And if more children become orphaned, their vulnerability to trafficking and other forms of exploitation will rise. 

Health care 

If healthcare systems become overwhelmed or children have less access to healthcare centres, this can increase the number of deaths from other causes such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. For example, in West Africa, deaths from these causes spiked after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015. In some countries, vaccination campaigns have also ceased. 

Covid-19-Global-Health-Response-Banner-3.jpgThe hygiene practices taught at all child development centres are beneficial to keeping the children clean and safe. 

Malnutrition 

Many children around the world rely on school meals for daily nutrition. With this vital source of food removed for many children, and parents unable to work, malnutrition and stunting could increase. 

Web_Version-CC-TG051400224-1-2005.jpg"I want to thank all the sponsors who donate the money so that we can receive these food items," says Olivier from Togo. "May God bless you even more." 

Let’s speak out on behalf of these children and keep praying for them.

Scriptures command us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to advocate for the rights of all those who are destitute (Proverbs 31:8). There can be no greater cause than to advocate for the needs of children, particularly those who are vulnerable. Each one of us can and should act. Scripture also tells us to pray without ceasing therefore please join our prayer list here

 


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