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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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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.
Common mental disorders in mothers of children attending out-patient malnutrition clinics in rural North-western Nigeria: a cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Aminu T. Abdullahi; Zubaida L. Farouk; Abdulazeez Imam

Published: January 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
Children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition are managed routinely within out-patient malnutrition treatment programs. These programs do not offer maternal mental health support services, despite maternal mental health playing a significant role in the nutritional status of children. Additionally, the burden of maternal Common Mental Disorders (CMDs) is poorly described among mothers of children attending these programs. This study thus determined the burden and risk factors for maternal CMDs among children attending out-patient malnutrition clinics in rural North-western Nigeria
Asia and the Pacific regional overview of food security and nutrition 2020: maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition
This is the third annual report jointly written by United Nations agencies on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 2 – Zero Hunger) and the World Health Assembly 2030 targets for nutrition in the Asia and Pacific region. The first part of this report tracks progress on key SDG 2 indicators and World Health Assembly targets up to 2019. The second part of the report focuses on challenges and possible solutions to improve maternal and child diets in the Asia and Pacific region.
Reorienting nurturing care for early childhood development during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya: a review

AUTHOR(S)
Constance Shumba; Rose Maina; Gladys Mbuthia (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
In Kenya, millions of children have limited access to nurturing care. With the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is anticipated that vulnerable children will bear the biggest brunt of the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic. This review aimed to deepen understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on nurturing care from conception to four years of age, a period where the care of children is often delivered through caregivers or other informal platforms. The review has drawn upon the empirical evidence from previous pandemics and epidemics, and anecdotal and emerging evidence from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Multifactorial impacts fall into five key domains: direct health; health and nutrition systems; economic protection; social and child protection; and child development and early learning. The review proposes program and policy strategies to guide the reorientation of nurturing care, prevent the detrimental effects associated with deteriorating nurturing care environments, and support the optimal development of the youngest and most vulnerable children. These include the provision of cash transfers and essential supplies for vulnerable households and strengthening of community-based platforms for nurturing care.
The promotion of positive mental health for new mothers during Covid-19

AUTHOR(S)
Kate Barlow

Published: October 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused increased hardship for new mothers and their young children. Increased isolation, lack of in-person doctor visits and decreased interaction within the community, has pregnant and postpartum women in need of additional support. Occupational therapists often work with infants and their mothers due to feeding concerns. Difficulty with early feeding adds additional stress on the mother–infant dyad relationship. This case study describes a mother’s traumatic experience giving birth during Covid-19 and the occupational therapy intervention provided to the mother–infant dyad. In order to improve outcomes for the mother and child with feeding concerns, this case study is a call to action for paediatric occupational therapy practitioners to include the promotion of positive mental health of mothers in their practice, particularly during the pandemic.
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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.