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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 229
Psychosocial and behavioral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents with autism and their families: overview of the literature and initial data from a multinational online survey

AUTHOR(S)
Helene Kreys; Dana Schneider; Andrea Erika Kowallik (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Healthcare
Since COVID-19 has become a pandemic, everyday life has seen dramatic changes affecting individuals, families, and children with and without autism. Among other things, these changes entail more time at home, digital forms of communication, school closures, and reduced support and intervention. This study assesses the effects of the pandemic on quality of life for school-age autistic and neurotypical children and adolescents. First, it provides a comprehensive review of the current relevant literature. Next, it reports original data from a survey conducted in several countries, assessing activities, well-being, and social life in families with autism, and their changes over time. It focuses on differences between children with and without autism from within the same families, and on different outcomes for children with high- or low-functioning autism.
Child protective services during COVID-19 and doubly marginalized children: international perspectives

AUTHOR(S)
Carmit Katz; Natalia Varela; Jill E. Korbin (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Alongside deficits in children's wellbeing, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an elevated risk for child maltreatment and challenges for child protective services worldwide. Therefore, some children might be doubly marginalized, as prior inequalities become exacerbated and new risk factors arise. This paper aims to provide initial insight into international researchers' identification of children who might have been overlooked or excluded from services during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Arab region: an opportunity to reform social protection systems

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, social protection systems in the Arab region were weak, fragmented, not inclusive, and non-transparent. They were also costly and unsustainable. Underinvestment in these systems and exclusion of vulnerable populations were key challenges. The COVID-19 crisis spotlighted the problems and presented a historic opportunity to address some of the challenges facing social protection systems. Lessons learned in various countries were identified as useful examples for change, in addition to certain innovations. This report embarked on actionable policy research to examine and assess the interplay of the social policy dimensions, global experiences, and regional responses to the pandemic in the Arab region. By critically engaging with the actions and priorities of a variety of stakeholders, the report develops and advocates for policies for the judicious and methodical implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, combating inequality and supporting the principle of leaving no one behind, as instigated in the Agenda 2030.

Screening and vaccination against COVID-19 to minimise school closure: a modelling study

AUTHOR(S)
Elisabetta Colosi; Giulia Bassignana; Diego Andrés Contreras (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: The Lancet. Infectious diseases

Schools were closed extensively in 2020-21 to counter SARS-CoV-2 spread, impacting students' education and wellbeing. With highly contagious variants expanding in Europe, safe options to maintain schools open are urgently needed. By estimating school-specific transmissibility, this study evaluates costs and benefits of different protocols for SARS-CoV-2 control at school. The study developed an agent-based model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools. It used empirical contact data in a primary and a secondary school and data from pilot screenings in 683 schools during the alpha variant (B.1.1.7) wave in March-June, 2021, in France. It fitted the model to observed school prevalence to estimate the school-specific effective reproductive number for the alpha (Ralpha) and delta (B.1.617.2; Rdelta) variants and performed a cost-benefit analysis examining different intervention protocols.

Disruptions, adjustments and hopes: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child well-being in five Majority World Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Sadiyya Haffejee; Panos Vostanis; Michelle O'Reilly (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Children & Society

Drawing on integrated data from focus groups and diary entries, we explored the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on child well- being for children from five Majority World Countries. We focus on the disruptions the pandemic caused, the adjustments made in response to these, and children's vision of a post- pandemic world. Underlying children's experiences of loss, boredom and concerns about educational progress, was an awareness of systemic inequalities that disadvantaged them or oth-ers in their community.

The perceived effects of COVID-19 pandemic on female genital mutilation/cutting and child or forced marriages in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Senegal

AUTHOR(S)
Tammary Esho; Dennis J. Matanda; Timothy Abuya (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

The effects of COVID-19 on harmful traditional practices such Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and Child or Forced Marriages (CFM) have not been well documented. We examined respondents’ perceptions on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected FGM/C and CFM in Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, and Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study design with a mixed methods approach was used. Data collection on participants’ perceptions on the effects of COVID-19 on FGM/C and CFM took place between October-December 2020. Household surveys targeting women and men aged 15–49 years in Kenya (n = 312), Uganda (n = 278), Ethiopia (n = 251), and Senegal (n = 208) were conducted. Thirty-eight key informant interviews with programme implementers and policymakers were carried out in Kenya (n = 17), Uganda (n = 9), Ethiopia (n = 8), and Senegal (n = 4).

Gendered impacts of COVID-19: insights from 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Muzna Fatima Alvi; Shweta Gupta; Prapti Barooah (et al.)

Institution: USAID
Published: March 2022
It is widely recognized that periods of crisis affect men and women differently, mediated by their access to resources and information, as well as social and institutional structures that may systematically disadvantage women from being able to access relief, institutional support, and rehabilitation. To capture the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, this study conducted phone surveys in seven countries spread across Asia and Africa. The study was designed as a longitudinal panel study with five rounds of data collection in Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria, and Senegal, and three rounds of data collection in Kenya, Niger, and Uganda. Both men and women were administered the same survey, with some modifications made across countries to adapt to local contexts. This report gives an overview of our findings covering several topics including income loss, coping strategies, labor and time use, food and water insecurity and child education outcomes.
Two years of COVID-19 is threatening progress towards the sustainable development goals: emerging policy recommendations to support young people in developing countries

AUTHOR(S)
Kath Ford; Richard Freund

Institution: Young Lives
Published: March 2022

After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, our four study countries are each facing significant economic and social challenges, and rapidly changing circumstances. But COVID-19 is not the only global crisis; our evidence from Ethiopia reflects unprecedented times, as vulnerable families grapple with the compounding effects of civil conflict and climate change. This policy brief summarises key findings from the fifth call in the Young Lives phone survey, conducted between October and December 2021, and draws on previous COVID-19 calls, as well as longitudinal data collected since 2001 through regular in-person surveys. The brief builds on previous policy recommendations from our phone survey, highlights how the pandemic, alongside climate change and conflict, is continuing to have an adverse impact on the lives of young people in low- and middle-income countries, and presents emerging policy recommendations in response to this impact. Our analysis demonstrates that urgent action is required if we are to get progress towards the SDGs back on track.

18 months lost and found: reflections from a transnational participatory action research project exploring young people's lived experiences of the COVID-19 crisis

AUTHOR(S)
Laurie Day; Barry Percy-Smith; Sara Rizzo (et al.)

Published: March 2022

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Growing-up Under COVID-19 was a transnational action research project, which aimed to provide insights to the impact of the public health crisis on young people’s lives, and to inform the development of appropriate tools and measures to safeguard children’s wellbeing and rights during and beyond the pandemic.

Research priorities for early childhood development in the context of COVID-19: results from an international survey

AUTHOR(S)
Kerrie Proulx; Kristy Hackett; Shekufeh Zonji

Institution: Early Childhood Development Action Network
Published: February 2022

This project was undertaken in December 2021 using a short online questionnaire. Respondents were asked to provide demographic information and to select up to three urgent COVID-19 research priorities among a list of 15 topics related to early childhood development and nurturing care. This list was generated by reviewing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Nurturing Care Framework and expert opinion. Space was provided for respondents to list additional research priorities not included in the list. The questionnaire was completed by 98 respondents from 47 mostly low- and middle-income countries. Most respondents were professionals in the early childhood development space and users or consumers of research (59%), including pediatricians, early childhood educators and program managers. Thirty-six percent of respondents were researchers, and 5% worked for research funding agencies.

Young children’s screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 12 countries

AUTHOR(S)
Christina Bergmann; Nevena Dimitrova; Khadeejah Alaslani (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Scientific Reports
Older children with online schooling requirements, unsurprisingly, were reported to have increased screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in many countries. This study asked whether younger children with no similar online schooling requirements also had increased screen time during lockdown. It examined children’s screen time during the first COVID-19 lockdown in a large cohort (n = 2209) of 8-to-36-month-olds sampled from 15 labs across 12 countries. Caregivers reported that toddlers with no online schooling requirements were exposed to more screen time during lockdown than before lockdown.
Improve children's wellbeing and learning in Central Sahel: increasing psychosocial support in schools
Published: January 2022

To address the situation in the central Sahel region, improve learning and restore hope of the displaced children in Central Sahel, NRC, UNHCR and UNICEF have been implementing several activities other the past years. In December 2020, NRC launched the Better Learning Program (BLP) implemented by teachers to support children’s recovery from the traumatic events experienced during conflict and displacement. The programme improves conditions for learning through mobilization of a child’s support network of caregivers, teachers and counsellors to assess and address the level of mental and psychological trauma faced by children. In 2021, UNHCR has strengthened the capacity of teachers and members of community structures in refugee and IDP hosting areas of the three countries by organizing training sessions dedicated to the psychosocial support (PSS) of students. Psychosocial support was also provided on an individual basis for cases requiring child protection interventions. UNICEF has broadly taken a multi-sectoral approach to providing  psychosocial support to children in the Sahel, across education, child protection and nutrition activities in particular. Moving forward, there will be an increasing drive to consider this within the broader consideration of mental health as a foundation for resilience and learning. As part of NRC BLP Program, an assessment has been conducted, in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali aiming to measure promoters and barriers for learning before and after interventions.

Political prioritization of early childhood education during the COVID-19 pandemic: a comparative policy analysis of low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Michelle J. Neuman; Shawn Powers

Published: January 2022   Journal: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
Despite strong evidence of its importance to the welfare of children and societies, early childhood education has been comparatively neglected as a policy priority both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper seeks to understand what factors have contributed to the relative lack of priority for early childhood education in distance learning and school reopening plans by applying a political prioritization framework to the pandemic context in four low- and middle-income countries: Ethiopia, Jamaica, Liberia, and Pakistan (Punjab Province). Some aspects of the pre-COVID-19 status quo which disfavored early childhood education have continued, including a lack of cohesive support from civil society and a greater focus by international partners on norm promotion and technical assistance than financing. In other respects, the pandemic put early childhood education at an even greater disadvantage. These include perceptions that early childhood education is less suited to distance delivery than other levels of education, concerns about young children's ability to comply with health protocols, and competition with high-stakes examinations for education ministries’ attention. Previous country experience with pandemics (in Liberia) and a strong coordinating entity (in Jamaica) were mitigating factors.
COVID-19 school health and safety protocols: good practices and lessons learnt to respond to Omicron
Institution: UNESCO
Published: January 2022

Based  on  an  analysis  of  35  countries,  this  brief  report  aims  to  provide  a  current  overview of  national health  and  safety  protocols  to  keep  schools  open,  their  dimensions  and  how  they  are  designed, implemented  and  regulated  to  ensure  the  continuation  of  education.  It  also  aims  to  guide  education systems by outlining some lessons learnt and effective practices on how the reopening of schools might be achieved safely and successfully. Finally, the report seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the  impacts  of  the  protocols  on  learning  as  well  as  the  social  and  emotional  well-being,  health  and development of learners and teachers.In a changing environment where infection rates are increasing at an exponential rate, it also explores how the Omicron variant is affecting current operations and what education systems should do to keep schools open while ensuring that all students are safe and learning.

How much does universal digital learning cost?

AUTHOR(S)
Haogen Yao; Mathieu Brossard; Suguru Mizunoya (et al.)

Published: January 2022

COVID-19 school closures initially revealed more than 75% of children lacked access to critical digital learning opportunities. Three out of four were living in the poorest 40% of households. Digital learning is impossible without connectivity and electricity. However, in places like Chad, Malawi and Niger, the proportion of people with access to electricity is below 1 in 5. What efforts will ensure these children are not further left behind in future crises if schools are again closed? How much will universal access to digital learning cost? The answer is US$1.4 trillion. This paper estimates the cost of universalizing digital learning by 2030, in alignment with the conceptual framework of the Reimagine Education initiative. It provides a rationale for cost assumptions; classifies costs into enabling digital learning and delivering digital learning; and, finally, discusses financing achievability by comparing the estimated costs with current spending in education and other sectors.

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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.