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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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Beyond handwashing: Water insecurity undermines COVID-19 response in developing areas

AUTHOR(S)
Justin Stoler; Wendy Jepson; Amber Wutich

Published: May 2020   Journal: Journal of Global Health
Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) inequities are long-recognized as important contributors to the global burden of disease that inhibit sustainable development. Inadequate water quantity poses additional challenges for maintaining clean environments and sanitizing physical surfaces where COVID-19 can survive. But the problems associated with water insecurity extend well beyond issues of quantity and hygiene.
Social distancing can cause significant disruptions in people’s access to their most basic necessity. One of the most underappreciated coping strategies for dealing with water insecurity is water sharing between households. The ubiquitous, but often invisible, practice of household water sharing occurs in a variety of socio-cultural settings, and may serve as a transmission pathway for many communicable diseases. 
Water insecurity also complicates people’s ability to participate in social distancing if they have to fetch their own water. About a billion people globally collect their own water from sources outside of their home such as public standpipes, wells, or surface water bodies, and often at great distances. Water fetching in groups contributes to building social capital among women and children, while offering a mechanism of protection from physical dangers like injuries, accidents, harassment, and assaults. Thus, when social distancing measures are in place, vulnerable groups (especially women and girls) experience greater risks by having to fetch water alone. 
Under-resourced regions that already suffer economic losses from lack of adequate water supplies are on the verge of an enormous additional burden from COVID-19. 
The Impact of COVID-19 on children
Institution: United Nations
Published: April 2020

The UN Secretary-General has launched a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children. The brief lays out the ways in which the virus will impact children.  Whilst they appear largely to be spared the worst symptoms of the disease, they may well be among the biggest victims of the crisis in the long run because their education, nutrition, safety and health will be significantly undermined by the socioeconomic impact and by unintended consequences of the pandemic response. The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. This policy brief provides a deeper analysis of these effects. It identifies also a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.

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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.