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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Indirect effects of COVID-19 on maternal and child health in South Africa

Evelyn Thsehla; Adam Balusik; Micheal Kofi Boachie (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Global Health Action

The unfinished burden of poor maternal and child health contributes to the quadruple burden of disease in South Africa with the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic yet to be fully documented. This study aimed to investigate the indirect effects of COVID-19 on maternal and child health in different geographical regions and relative wealth quintiles. It estimated the effects of COVID-19 on maternal and child health from April 2020 to June 2021. It estimated this by calculating mean changes across facilities, relative wealth index (RWI) quintiles, geographical areas and provinces. To account for confounding by underlying seasonal or linear trends, we subsequently fitted a segmented fixed effect panel model.

Impact of COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures on physical-sports activity among adolescents in a rural population

Luis E. Fernández-Álvarez; Alejandro Carriedo; María Sánchez-Zafra (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
The aim of this study was to analyse the changes related to the practice of physical-sports activities (P-SA) in adolescents owing to COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures. A total of 259 students (mean age=13.98±1.61 years) from a high school gave information on their physical-sports habits during the first year of the pandemic.
Risks and opportunities for children's well-being in resource-constrained multigenerational households during COVID-19: implications for school psychology interventions

Kamleshie Mohangi

Published: December 2022   Journal: School Psychology International
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had a global impact on family social and economic well-being. Individuals and families sought alternative living arrangements as a result of the financial crisis, health implications, and housing insecurity, with many joining multigenerational households. However, it is unknown how multigenerational family life affects children's well-being. Therefore, this qualitative study explored risks and resilience-building opportunities for children's psychological and social well-being in resource-constrained multigenerational households during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. Five multigenerational families were selected through snowball sampling and case design. The three generations of participants were grandparents (n = 5), parents (n = 7), and children (n = 4). Data were gathered through a questionnaire and interviews. The study received institutional ethics approval. After thematic analysis, two themes and six sub-themes were identified. Risks were related to interpersonal conflict, family collective fear of COVID-19, and children's multiple other fears. Opportunities were identified as academic support, shared responsibilities, life skills and values acquisition, and family cohesion.
Securing the cybersafety of South African online high school learners beyond COVID-19

Baldreck Chipangura; Gustave Dtendjo-Ndjindja

Published: December 2022   Journal: The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa
The unprecedented online learning that took place at several schools during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is predicted to continue on the same trajectory when learners return to classroom learning. Continuing with online learning implies that learners will spend most of their time learning and socialising online, which exposes them to cybersecurity risks. Hence, this study investigated strategies for securing the cybersafety of online learners at South African high schools. The study adopted an interpretivist approach, and qualitative data were collected from school teachers. Fifteen school teachers from five private high schools in Centurion, Pretoria, were interviewed, and the data were thematically analysed. All the schools were multiracial and English-medium schools. The teachers from the schools were selected to participate in the study because they had experienced online learning during the times of COVID-19. The study proposed cybersafety strategies that are centred around providing cybersafety policies, conscientising learners about cybersecurity risks (awareness), preventing cyberbullying, discouraging the consumption or production of inappropriate content and protecting learners from Internet addiction.
Childhood and children's migration in the era of COVID‐19: a case study of Zimbabwean children/young people's migration to South Africa

Roda Madziva; Innocent Mahiya; Chamunogwa Nyoni

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children & Society
This paper draws on research with a group of Zimbabwean orphaned young people. It explores their experiences of migrating to South Africa during the COVID-19 period when official borders were closed. It draws attention to the complexities of south–south migration in the era of COVID-19 in a way that situates the orphaned child migrants as having contradictory, fluid identities that are simultaneously victimised, agentic and infinitely more complex than the dominant binary representation of adult/child.
Policy and guideline review of vaccine safety for COVID-19 in pregnant women in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa

Rujeko Samanthia Chimukuche; Busisiwe Nkosi; Janet Seeley

Published: December 2022   Journal: Vaccines
Pregnant and lactating mothers have historically been excluded from clinical trials. To understand the shift from excluding to including this population in COVID-19 vaccine trials, this study conducted a review of guidance issued by countries in southern Africa over the last three years. It conducted a review of documents and official statements recorded on Ministries of Health websites, and social media platforms, the World Health Organisation website, the COVID-19 Maternal Immunisation tracker and the African Union official webpage. Search terms included COVID-19 vaccination policies, guidelines for pregnant and lactating women, COVID-19 vaccination trials and pregnant women. The research retrieved and reviewed policies, guidelines, and official statements from 12 countries.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on female academics with young children in South Africa

Samantha Kriger; Cyrill Walters; Armand Bam (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: SOTL in the South
Against the backdrop of an increase in research on the effects of COVID-19, this article uses the analysis of survey data of female academics from the 26 higher education institutions in South Africa to identify how female academics with young children coped with academic output during the pandemic-enforced lockdown. A growing body of research documents the influence of children and childcare on the careers of female academics. In this article, we see how female academics who stayed at home during the enforced lockdown period negotiated childcare and home-schooling, and how the lockdown influenced their academic output. An online survey questionnaire was administered, consisting of 12 Likert-scale questions followed by an open-ended section that solicited a narrative account of academic work and home life during the lockdown period. Data on female academics with children under the age of six years was extracted for this study. The quantitative and qualitative data that emerged from our study of 2,018 women academics at 26 universities across South Africa describes how academic mothers felt, and how they struggled to complete the academic work required by their educational institutions. Such academic work directly influences future career prospects. This study highlights the influence that the presence of young children in the home, the pressures of home-schooling, traditional gender roles, and household responsibilities have on the academic careers of women.
COVID-19 and HIV viral load suppression in children and adolescents in Durban, South Africa

Asandile Mathamo; Kimesh L. Naidoo; Jienchi Dorward (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses challenges to paediatric and adolescent HIV treatment programme. Modelling exercises raised concerns over potential impact of disruptions. This study aimed to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on viral load (VL) testing among infants, children and adolescents on antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Durban, South Africa. Routinely collected, aggregated data of monthly VL counts done on all those less than 19 years old from January 2018 to January 2022 was analysed. An interrupted time series analysis using a Prais-Winsten linear regression model, including terms for lockdowns and excess mortality determined VL trends.

Adolescent cyberstanders' experience of cyberbullying in the era of Covid-19 in South Africa

Segun Emmanuel Adewoye

Published: November 2022   Journal: International Journal of Emotional Education,
Indications are that cyberstanders can be negatively affected by witnessing cyberbullying incidents and are even more likely than direct victims of cyberbullying to report symptoms of stress. However, cyberbystanders are understudied in the cyberbullying literature because most research predominantly focuses on perpetrators or direct victims of cyberbullying. This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of adolescent cyberbystanders who witnessed cyberbullying in the COVID-19 era. Twenty adolescent cyberbystanders were purposely selected to participate in this study. The qualitative data was analysed using inductive thematic analysis. The findings demonstrated that cyberbullying has various detrimental effects that include educational, psychological, and emotional consequences for those exposed to it. It is recommended that anti-cyberbullying programmes should be incorporated into the curriculum so that teachers and educational psychologists can emphasise the negative impact of cyberbullying on bullies, victims and bystanders. With more awareness of the detrimental consequences of cyberbullying on all parties involved, adolescents may become more competent in respecting people’s rights and privacy within cyberspace.
Difficulties experienced by South African adolescents during COVID-19 lockdown: implications for early mental health interventions

Jace Pillay

Published: November 2022   Journal: South African Journal of Psychology
Adolescence is characterized as a period of great physical, psychological, social, and behavioral challenges which often impacts on the mental health of adolescents. Prior research has demonstrated the mental health of adolescents to be further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in isolation during the strictest lockdown period. As such, the primary purpose of this study was to identify the difficulties of South African adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected through a questionnaire completed by 4230 grade 4 to 12 learners from two provinces in South Africa (Mpumalanga, North-West) and analyzed with chi-square, Cramer’s V, Bayesian, and the odds ratio tests. Participants self-reported on the difficulties they experienced during the strictest part of the COVID-19 lockdown period which could possibly impact on their mental health.
Resilience to COVID-19 challenges: Lessons for school psychologists serving school-attending black South African youth aged 10 to 19 years old

Jace Pillay

Published: November 2022   Journal: School Psychology International
Several studies have highlighted the mental health challenges of children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period, especially, in relation to an escalation of depression, anxiety, and stress. Whilst this may be the reality, it is unfortunate that most of the studies adopt a psychopathological point of departure often portraying doom and gloom. Adopting a social ecological resilience perspective the author focuses on the resilience of school-attending black South African youth during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Child and Youth Resilience Measurement (CYRM-28) was completed by 4165 respondents in grades 4 to 12 (females = 2431, 58.4%; males = 1734, 41.6%) from the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North-West provinces in South Africa.
Drivers of socioeconomic inequalities of child hunger during COVID-19 in South Africa: evidence from NIDS-CRAM Waves 1-5

Olufunke A. Alaba; Charles Hongoro; Aquina Thulare (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health volume

Child hunger has long-term and short-term consequences, as starving children are at risk of many forms of malnutrition, including wasting, stunting, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. The purpose of this paper is to show that the child hunger and socio-economic inequality in South Africa increased during her COVID-19 pandemic due to various lockdown regulations that have affected the economic status of the population. This paper uses the National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM WAVES 1–5) collected in South Africa during the intense COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 to assess the socioeconomic impacts of child hunger rated inequalities. First, child hunger was determined by a composite index calculated by the authors. Descriptive statistics were then shown for the investigated variables in a multiple logistic regression model to identify significant risk factors of child hunger. Additionally, the decomposable Erreygers' concentration index was used to measure socioeconomic inequalities on child hunger in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adaptations and staff experiences in delivering parenting programmes and other family support services in three community-based organisations in Cape Town, South Africa during the COVID pandemic

Yulia Shenderovich; Hlengiwe Sacolo-Gwebu; Zuyi Fang (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Global Public Health
This study explored how organisations working on parenting programmes and other types of family support and violence prevention in low-resource settings experienced the pandemic. In August 2020–May 2021, we interviewed (1) staff from three community-based organisations delivering evidence-informed parenting interventions and other psychosocial services for families in Cape Town, South Africa, (2) staff from a parenting programme training organisation and (3) staff from two international organisations supporting psychosocial services in South Africa.
Adaptive social protection in Southern Africa
Institution: The World Bank
Published: November 2022
The countries of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa are exposed to climatic shocks, especially drought, that pose a continual threat to lives and livelihoods across the subregion. The pandemic has compounded these existing vulnerabilities. Climatic shocks such as these tend to affect the poorest most, exacerbating inequalities and increasing poverty. Food insecurity, which is chronic in the subregion and both a root cause of vulnerability to drought and an outcome of it also increased as a result of impacts from the pandemic. Social safety net programs can help poor and vulnerable households manage the risks they face from shocks, helping to mitigate the impacts on poverty and food insecurity, but their effectiveness can be constrained in several ways. The mobilization of social protection in response to COVID-19 and the challenges that have emerged to that mobilization have strengthened the case for investments in preparedness ahead of future shocks. Adaptive social protection refers to an agenda for preparing social protection systems to improve their response to shocks and to build the resilience of poor and vulnerable households. This report takes stock of ASP in four of the five SACU countries and provides targeted recommendations for each country’s development.
HIV and SRH healthcare delivery experiences of South African healthcare workers and adolescents and young people during COVID-19

Jane Kelly; Lesley Gittings; Christina Laurenzi (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Psychology, Health & Medicine
While substantial research has emerged from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from studies with adolescent populations, there has been a dearth of research focused in South Africa on the context-specific experiences of healthcare workers (HCWs) and the adolescents and young people (AYP) to whom they provide services. This article documents the experiences of provision and receipt of HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services during the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of South African HCWs (n = 13) and AYP (n = 41, ages 17–29).
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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