COVID-19 causes widening inequality for children worldwide
14 September 2020 at 6:44 pm
Save the Children has conducted the largest global survey of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared
Children from the poorest households are missing out on access to education, healthcare and food during COVID-19, while facing greater exposure to violence at home, a new global survey reveals.
Save the Children interviewed 8,069 children and 17,565 adults across 37 countries for the survey – the largest of its kind since the pandemic began – and uncovered the disproportionate impact of the crisis on vulnerable kids.
More than nine in 10 households (93 per cent) that lost over half of their income due to the pandemic reported problems accessing health services.
Two thirds of the children have had no contact with teachers at all during lockdown; leaving eight in ten students feeling like they had learned little or nothing since schools shut.
Meanwhile the reported rate of violence at home doubled during school closures – from 8 per cent to 17 per cent.
Researchers found that the pandemic has widened inequalities for poorer families.
Poorer households were more likely to suffer income losses (82 per cent) than those not classified as poor (70 per cent).
And less than 1 per cent of poorer children had access to internet for remote learning, compared with 19 per cent for non-poor households.
Inger Ashing, the CEO of Save the Children International, said COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on children’s access to healthcare, food, education and safety.
“To protect an entire generation of children from losing out on a healthy and stable future, the world needs to urgently step up with debt relief for low-income countries and fragile states, so they can invest in the lives of their children,” Ashing said.
“The needs of children and their opinions need to be at the centre of any plans to build back what the world has lost over the past months, to ensure that they will not pay the heaviest price.”
The crisis has particularly hurt Australia’s nearest neighbours in the Pacific, with 77 per cent of parents or caregivers in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea reporting they had trouble paying for food.
These findings come amid the Australian aid sector’s #EndCOVIDForAll campaign, which calls on the Australian government to contribute its fair share of global humanitarian funding and increase support to crisis areas.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds said Australia needed to give better support to its neighbours.
“While Australia has responded to the global COVID-19 crisis by deploying health experts, providing medical supplies and financial support to Pacific Islands governments, the scale of the crisis has not been matched by the type of vision and action needed,” Ronalds said.
“Even though there is so much happening at home, we must look beyond our shores. Our Pacific neighbours are in crisis.
“Not only would strong intervention by Australia protect our own interests, but it will literally save lives and livelihoods among our neighbours.”