In a presentation asking for extra funding for Covid19 efforts on Monday, UNICEF director Henrietta H. Fore said “The repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself.”
Victor Aguayo, UNICEF nutrition program head, said the most harm is being done “by having schools closed, by having primary health care services disrupted, by having nutritional programs dysfunctional.”
The officials cited a study published in The Lancet that finds “physical distancing, school closures, trade restrictions, and country lockdowns” are exacerbating global child malnutrition. They noted that could mean 128,000 more child deaths over the course of the next year.
The study compiles research from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
It finds that lockdowns imposed by governments to combat Covid19 could lead to “life-long impacts on education, chronic disease risks, and overall human capital formation,” in addition to “intergenerational consequences for child growth and development.”
It also notes that the estimates may be conservative, “given that the duration of this crisis is unknown, and its full impacts on food, health, and social protection systems are yet to be realized.”
Photo by UNICEF