By Alfred Koroma
About 10.5 million children are estimated to have lost their parents and caregivers during the COVID19 pandemic, JAMA Pediatrics reveals earlier this month.
The study by JAMA Pediatrics is the third update of the number of children who lost their parents due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Among the WHO regions most affected, countries with the highest numbers of bereaved children in Southeast Asia included Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Nepal and in Africa, countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are the countries badly affected.
While billions of dollars are invested in preventing COVID-19–associated deaths, little is being done to care for children left behind, the report says.
“I really appreciate this team’s effort to try to keep the issue of COVID-related orphans in front of the research and policy communities,” Michael Goodman, an applied social epidemiologist at the University of Texas in Galveston, is quoted by Nature. “We as a research community, as policy influencers — we as a society are not off the hook for these children.”
Earlier studies estimated that around 1.5 million children under 18 years old had lost a primary or secondary carer during the first 14 months of the pandemic. A year later, estimates are an entire magnitude greater, co-author Susan Hillis, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, UK is also quoted, saying the number stacks on top of the 140 million children who were already orphans before the pandemic.