According to the United Nations agency, closed schools, rising poverty, forced marriages and depression are among the factors that compound the problem.
UNICEF has warned that indicators measuring child and adolescent development have all regressed after a year of the pandemic, a setback that threatens to harm an entire generation.
The United Nations Children’s Agency said Thursday that school closures, rising poverty, forced marriages and depression are among other factors that are hampering the development of minors.
“The number of starving, isolated, abused, anxious, living in poverty and forced to marry children has increased,” said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, in a statement released exactly one year after the classification of the World Health Organization. COVID-19 as a pandemic.
“Their access to education, socialization and essential services, including health, nutrition and protection, has diminished. The signs that children will bear the scars of the pandemic for years to come are undeniable, ”Fore said in the statement.
Faced with these “devastating” effects, Fore urged to place children “at the heart of recovery efforts”, in particular by “giving priority to schools in reopening plans”.
UNICEF cited a series of disturbing figures in support of Fore’s comments.
As the pandemic has taken its toll on the elderly, children and adolescents under 20 make up 13% of the 71 million coronavirus cases reported in the 107 countries that provided data by age.
In developing countries, projections show a 15 percent increase in child poverty.
Six to seven million more children could suffer from malnutrition in 2020, a 14% increase that could translate to more than 10,000 additional deaths per month, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
For 168 million students worldwide, schools have been closed for almost a year. A third of these students do not have access to online education.
Due to the closure of schools and the deteriorating economic situation, the pandemic could also lead to the marriage of 10 million children by 2030, adding to the 100 million girls already considered at risk of marrying. ‘here there.
At least one in seven children and adolescents has spent most of the past year in receivership and faces increasing anxiety, depression and isolation.
The coronavirus has also led to the suspension of vaccination campaigns against other diseases – starting with measles – in 26 countries, increasing threats to the health of unvaccinated people.