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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Violence against women and children during COVID-19—One year on and 100 papers in: a fourth research round up

AUTHOR(S)
Shelby Bourgault; Amber Peterman; Megan O'Donnell

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: April 2021
A year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, this research takes stock of an increasingly diverse set of new studies linking violence against women and children (VAW/C) to COVID-19 and associated pandemic response measures. This fourth round up focuses exclusively on research in low- and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs) published since December 2020 to highlight dynamics in settings that previously had fewer studies. As in previous round ups, this research only include studies that have sufficient information on indicator definition and analysis methods. In total, 26 new studies from LICs and MICs are summarized, with the majority focused on identifying trends (15 studies), while others present analysis of risk factors or dynamics (an additional ten studies), and one represents an impact analysis of prevention programming.
Socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in low-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Josephson; Talip Kilic; Jeffrey D. Michler

Published: March 2021   Journal: Nature Human Behaviour
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and attempts to limit its spread have resulted in a contraction of the global economy. This study documents the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic among households, adults and children in low-income countries. To do so, it relies on longitudinal household survey data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, originating from pre-COVID-19 face-to-face household surveys plus phone surveys implemented during the pandemic. 256 million individuals—77% of the population—are estimated to live in households that have lost income during the pandemic. Attempts to cope with this loss are exacerbated by food insecurity and an inability to access medicine and staple foods. Finally, this study finds that student– teacher contact has dropped from a pre-COVID-19 rate of 96% to just 17% among households with school-aged children. These findings can inform decisions by governments and international organizations on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

Revisiting maternal and child undernutrition in low-income and middle-income countries: variable progress towards an unfinished agenda

AUTHOR(S)
Cesar G. Victora; Parul Christian; Luis Paulo Vidaletti (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: The Lancet
13 years after the first Lancet Series on maternal and child undernutrition, we reviewed the progress achieved on the basis of global estimates and new analyses of 50 low-income and middle-income countries with national surveys from around 2000 and 2015. The prevalence of childhood stunting has fallen, and linear growth faltering in early life has become less pronounced over time, markedly in middle-income countries but less so in low-income countries. Stunting and wasting remain public health problems in low-income countries, where 4·7% of children are simultaneously affected by both, a condition associated with a 4·8-times increase in mortality. New evidence shows that stunting and wasting might already be present at birth, and that the incidence of both conditions peaks in the first 6 months of life. Global low birthweight prevalence declined slowly at about 1·0% a year. Knowledge has accumulated on the short-term and long-term consequences of child undernutrition and on its adverse effect on adult human capital. Existing data on vitamin A deficiency among children suggest persisting high prevalence in Africa and south Asia. Zinc deficiency affects close to half of all children in the few countries with data. New evidence on the causes of poor growth points towards subclinical inflammation and environmental enteric dysfunction. Among women of reproductive age, the prevalence of low body-mass index has been reduced by half in middle-income countries, but trends in short stature prevalence are less evident. Both conditions are associated with poor outcomes for mothers and their children, whereas data on gestational weight gain are scarce. Data on the micronutrient status of women are conspicuously scarce, which constitutes an unacceptable data gap. Prevalence of anaemia in women remains high and unabated in many countries. Social inequalities are evident for many forms of undernutrition in women and children, suggesting a key role for poverty and low education, and reinforcing the need for multisectoral actions to accelerate progress. Despite little progress in some areas, maternal and child undernutrition remains a major global health concern, particularly as improvements since 2000 might be offset by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assessment of midwifery care providers intrapartum care competencies, in four sub-Saharan countries: a mixed-method study protocol

AUTHOR(S)
Ann‑Beth Moller; Joanne Welsh; Mechthild M. Gross (et al.)

Published: February 2021   Journal: Reproductive Health
This study aims to assess competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of midwifery care providers as well as their experiences and perceptions of in-service training in the four study countries; Benin, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda as part of the Action Leveraging Evidence to Reduce perinatal mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa project (ALERT). While today more women in low- and middle-income countries give birth in health care facilities, reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality have been less than expected. This paradox may be explained by the standard and quality of intrapartum care provision which depends on several factors such as health workforce capacity and the readiness of the health system as well as access to care.
Prevalence and potential consequences of child labour in India and the possible impact of COVID-19 – a contemporary overview

AUTHOR(S)
Navpreet Kaur; Roger W. Byard

Published: February 2021   Journal: Medicine, Science and the Law
Child labour is a global phenomenon occurring predominantly in countries with lower socioeconomic status and resources. Societal and familial poverty, loss or incapacitation/illness of parents, lack of social security and protection, and ignorance about the value of, or limited access to, education are among the myriad reasons for the involvement of children in the workforce. Child labour is a barrier to the development of individual children and their society and economy. Global estimates indicate that 152 million children (64 million girls and 88 million boys) are working, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide. Currently the COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market consequences are having a major impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, impoverished families and their children are often the first to suffer, which may push many more vulnerable children into child labour situations. Child labour in India is more prevalent than in many other countries, with approximately 10 million children actively engaged in, or seeking, work. This paper focuses on the issue of child labour, its causes and its ill effects. Further, it also reviews the international legal framework relating to child labour and legislative issues in India.
Epidemiology and transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in two Indian states

AUTHOR(S)
Ramanan Laxminarayan; Shankar Reddy Dudala Dudala; Brian Wahl (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: Science
Although most cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have occurred in low-resource countries, little is known about the epidemiology of the disease in such contexts. Data from the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh provide a detailed view into severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission pathways and mortality in a high-incidence setting. Reported cases and deaths have been concentrated in younger cohorts than would be expected from observations in higher-income countries, even after accounting for demographic differences across settings. Among 575,071 individuals exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases, infection probabilities ranged from 4.7 to 10.7% for low-risk and high-risk contact types, respectively. Same-age contacts were associated with the greatest infection risk. Case fatality ratios spanned 0.05% at ages of 5 to 17 years to 16.6% at ages of 85 years or more. Primary data from low-resource countries are urgently needed to guide control measures.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 370 | Issue: 6517 | No. of pages: 691-697 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: child health, data collection, disease control, disease transmission, COVID-19, epidemiology, low-income countries | Countries: India
The changing aspects of motherhood in face of the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Jennifer Prince Kingsley; Paul Kingsley Vijay; Jacob Kumaresan (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: Maternal and Child Health Journal
The aim of this article is to advocate perspectives to strengthen existing healthcare systems to prioritize maternal health services amidst and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle income countries. COVID-19 directly affects pregnant women causing more severe disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes. The indirect effects due to the monumental COVID-19 response are much worse, increasing maternal and neonatal mortality.
Let's break silos now! Achieving disability-inclusive education in a post-COVID world
Institution: Humanity & Inclusion
Published: November 2020
This report is about the difficulties children with disabilities face in accessing education in the world’s poorest countries. The exclusion of learners with disabilities from education is due to many reasons, including inaccessible school facilities, a lack of assistive technologies, poor health, prejudice, discrimination and stigma. The interconnected and complex nature of achieving inclusive, quality education for all therefore requires stakeholders to break with siloed approaches and to work collaboratively across economic, social, cultural and protection sectors and domains.
Intersecting vulnerabilities: the impacts of COVID-19 on the psycho-emotional lives of young people in low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Prerna Banati; Nicola Jones; Sally Youssef

Published: November 2020   Journal: The European Journal of Development Research
Across diverse contexts, emerging evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing levels of anxiety and stress. In calling for greater attention to people’s psychosocial and emotional well-being, global actors have paid insufcient attention to the realities of the pandemic in low- and middle-income countries, where millions of people are already exposed to intersecting vulnerabilities. Chronic poverty, protracted violence, confict and displacement, coupled with weak health, education and protection systems, provide the backdrop of many adolescents’ lives. Drawing on qualitative in-country telephone interviews with over 500 adolescents in Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and Lebanon, this article unpacks the age and gendered dimensions of COVID-19 and its response.
A fair share for children: preventing the loss of a generation to COVID-19

As this report makes clear, it is not just COVID-19 that is exacerbating global inequality; the world’s unjust economic response to COVID-19 will deepen global inequality for at least a generation. The most marginalised and vulnerable have been left to fend for themselves and millions of children will pay the price with their lives, unless we act now. In the short term, we need immediate action to ensure the most marginalised have their fair share of the global response. At the United Nations, world leaders must review the dreadful damage done by COVID-19 to the world’s poorest communities and realise they have faced the heaviest burden. Leaders must come together and agree a global package to help low income countries and ensure the most vulnerable to the crisis receive at least some support.

Beyond the disease: contextualized implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for children and young people living in Eastern and Southern Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Kaymarlin Govender; Richard Gregory Cowden; Patrick Nyamaruze (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created extraordinary challenges and prompted remarkable social changes around the world. The effects of COVID-19 and the public health control measures that have been implemented to mitigate its impact are likely to be accompanied by a unique set of consequences for specific subpopulations living in low-income countries that have fragile health systems and pervasive social-structural vulnerabilities. This paper discusses the implications of COVID-19 and related public health interventions for children and young people living in Eastern and Southern Africa. Actionable prevention, care, and health promotion initiatives are proposed to attenuate the negative effects of the pandemic and government-enforced movement restrictions on children and young people.
Close to contagion: the impact of COVID-19 on displaced and refugee girls and women
Institution: Plan International
Published: September 2020

Currently, as COVID-19 spreads across the world, an unprecedented 76.7 million people are living as refugees, or have been displaced inside their countries. Some 131 of the countries affected by COVID-19 have sizeable refugee populations and more than 80% of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries including Uganda, Sudan, Pakistan and Turkey, with health systems that are ill-equipped to manage significant outbreaks. Refugee and IDP camps are mostly chronically overcrowded and measures to avoid community transmission of the virus, such as physical distancing and frequent handwashing, are difficult to implement. The absence of basic amenities, such as clean running water and soap, insufficient medical personnel, and poor access to health information, let alone access to masks, will make avoiding infection virtually impossible. Also, in many host countries, refugees’ entitlement to healthcare and social protection systems are restricted or non-existent, which increases their vulnerability even further.

Are child and youth population at lower risk of COVID-19 fatalities? Evidences from South-East Asian and European countries

AUTHOR(S)
Ankita Zaveri; Pradip Chouhan

Published: August 2020   Journal: Children and Youth Services Review

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed many lacunas of public health preparedness, especially in lower and middle-income countries and fatality differentials between European and South-East Asian countries. The case fatality rate (CFR) in most of the South-East Asian countries is much lower than the European countries. The percentages of child and youth population are more in South-East countries. The study aims to show the impacts of age composition on fatality differentials in European and South-East Asian countries by age-structure, especially the percentage share of child and youth population.

Impacts of COVID-19 on childhood malnutrition and nutrition-related mortality

AUTHOR(S)
Derek Headey; Rebecca Heidkamp; Saskia Osendarp (et al.)

Published: August 2020   Journal: The Lancet
The unprecedented global social and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic poses grave risks to the nutritional status and survival of young children in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Of particular concern is an expected increase in child malnutrition, including wasting, due to steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, and interruptions to health, nutrition, and social protection services.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 306 | Issue: 10250 | No. of pages: 519-521 | Language: English | Topics: Child Poverty, Nutrition | Tags: child care services, child nutrition, COVID-19, impact, low-income countries, multi-country
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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.