How is COVID-19 affecting vulnerable children?

Over many years charities, NGOs and governments around the world have been working to improve healthcare for children including immunisations, newborn care and life-saving treatments. Lockdown changed this: disruptions to already struggling health services, lack of equipment access, and focus now concentrated on those with Coronavirus instead of regular health checks.

A UNICEF survey conducted in July across 77 countries found that almost 68 per cent of countries reported at least some disruption in health checks for children and immunization services.

This could put the lives of millions of children and youth at risk. Many children in poverty have to travel miles on foot to access health care if they get sick. What could lead to sickness? Not only the Coronavirus or other viral illnesses but malnutrition and stunting caused by lack of food and healthy nutrition.

We are helping many families in these situations, working together to combat the difficulties in accessing health care for children. We run a health care centre in Togo, feeding programmes in the Philippines and nutrition classes are included in many projects. Feeding programmes have been introduced by many of our partners as the pandemic has limited family job access and income. This helps protect against malnutrition and boosts the immune system, which is important for preventing further illness.

It is a privilege to be a part of ensuring that the lives of children and young people are not put at risk and that they can continue to thrive even through this troubled time. Will you help us to ensure they continue to get the health care and nutrition they need?