In its latest report on children in South Asia released on Tuesday, the UNICEF says that COVID 19 pandemic is unravelling decades of health, education and other advances for children across South Asia. UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Jean Gough said that the COVID 19 could destroy the hopes and futures of an entire generation if urgent action is not initiated now.
According to the report, immunization, nutrition and other vital health services have been severely disrupted in the South Asian region.It is potentially threatening the lives of up to 459,000 children and mothers over the next six months.
The report says that with the schools closed more than 430 million children have to depend upon remote learning. With several households, especially in the rural areas having no electricity or internet access, many of the disadvantaged students may become school dropouts under the impact of COVID 19 pandemic.
In the Rohingya camps in the Cox’s Bazar area of Southern Bangladesh, 2500 UNICEF supported learning centres closed during the COVID 19 crisis. Since these areas don’t have access to internet and electricity, the children have no access to remote learning available in other parts of Bangladesh.
UNICEF projects that over the coming six months as many as 120 million more children could be pushed into poverty and food insecurity, joining some 240 million children already classified as poor.
The report says that in order to mitigate the impact on poorer families governments should immediately direct more resources towards social protection schemes, including emergency universal child benefits and school feeding programmes.