- Adolescents account for a far greater percentage of those orphaned: Lancet
- More than 3 times children experienced the death of a father than mother
- Highest orphanhood cases in Peru and South Africa: Lancet
New Delhi: More than 1.9 million children in India lost a parent or caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a modelling study of 20 countries published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal. Globally, the number of children estimated to have experienced the death of a parent or caregiver as a result of COVID-19 has surged to more than 5.2 million, the researchers said. Estimates of the numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death nearly doubled in the six months from May 1, 2021 through October 31, 2021 compared with the numbers after the first 14 months of the pandemic, they said. Globally, the new study suggests, two out of three children orphaned from COVID-19 are adolescents aged 10 to 17 years.
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Sadly, as high as our estimates of orphanhood and caregiver deaths are, they are likely to be underestimates, and we expect these numbers to grow as more global data on COVID-19 deaths becomes available, said Juliette Unwin, lead study author from Imperial College London, UK.
“Real-time updated data suggests the true totals reached 6.7 million children as of January 2022. While our current study looked at estimates through October 2021, the pandemic is still raging worldwide, which means COVID-19 related orphanhood will also continue to surge,” Juliette Unwin said.
The number of children affected in the 20 countries studied ranged from 2,400 in Germany to more than 1.9 million in India, the researchers said. Calculations of estimated orphanhood cases per capita showed the highest rates were in Peru and South Africa, with 8 and 7 out of every 1,000 children affected, respectively, they said. The study found that in all countries, more than three times as many children experienced the death of a father than losing a mother. Adolescents accounted for a far greater proportion of those orphaned than younger children in all countries, according to the findings.
We estimate that for every person reported to have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one child is left orphaned or loses a caregiver, said study lead author Susan Hillis, who worked on the study at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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That is the equivalent of one child every six seconds facing a heightened risk of lifelong adversity unless given appropriate support in time, said Hillis, adding that support for orphaned children must be immediately integrated into every national COVID-19 response plan. However, the research authors noted some limitations in the study. Most notably, they said, the estimates are generated by mathematical modelling and cannot measure actual numbers of children affected by a parent or caregiver’s death. Future pandemic responses should include surveillance systems to monitor the numbers of children affected for every parental and caregiver death, the researchers said. This can be used to track needs for services and provide referral platforms that help point families towards appropriate support, they added.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.