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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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Working children in crisis-hit Lebanon: exploring the linkages between food insecurity and child labour
Food insecurity has increased significantly in Lebanon during the past year; nearly 97% of the Syrian refugees on Lebanese soil are marginally or completely food insecure. Food basednegative coping mechanisms have also increased and infant and young child feeding practices have deteriorated. Food is the main expenditure for the most vulnerable households. According to the last available figure on this topic (2016), at least 100,000 children were working in Lebanon and this trend is expected increase. The objective of this report is to draw attention to the linkage between food insecurity and child labour, and its recent evolution in Lebanon. ACF and IRC developed questionnaires and interviewed 648 individuals between July and September 2020 in the Bekaa, Beirut, North and South Lebanon. The interviewees were mostly Syrian refugees but also Lebanese individuals and working children were included. The survey findings were complemented by existing research findings from NRC and CAMEALEON and data from the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC).
Direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Asia

Over recent decades, South Asia has made remarkable progress in improving the health of mothers and children. But the year 2020 brought a great shock to South Asia, as it did to the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had major and multiple impacts – both direct and indirect. One of the critical indirect impacts has been severe disruptions to the delivery and use of routine services, including essential health and nutrition services. The region saw significant drops in the use of both preventive and curative services. Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia uses a series of exercises based on actual observed changes in services and intervention coverage to model impacts on mortality, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions due to COVID-19. It also models the impact of nationwide stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 on maternal and child mortality, educational attainment of children, and the region’s economy. The study focuses on South Asia’s six most populous countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and makes the case for interventions and strategies to minimise these indirect consequences.

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. 

Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

Protecting essential health services in low-income and middle-income countries and humanitarian settings while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Karl Blanchet; Ala Alwan; Caroline Antoine (et al.)

Published: October 2020

In health outcomes terms, the poorest countries stand to lose the most from these disruptions. In this paper, we make the case for a rational approach to public sector health spending and decision making during and in the early recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on ethics and equity principles, it is crucial to ensure that patients not infected by COVID-19 continue to get access to healthcare and that the services they need continue to be resourced. We present a list of 120 essential non-COVID-19 health interventions that were adapted from the model health benefit packages developed by the Disease Control Priorities project.

Changes of physical activity and ultra-processed food consumption in adolescents from different countries during Covid-19 pandemic: an observational study

AUTHOR(S)
María Belén Ruíz-Roso; Patricia de Carvalho Padilha; Diana C. Matilla-Escalante (et al.)

Published: July 2020   Journal: Nutrients
This study aims to describe physical activity and ultra-processed foods consumption, their changes and sociodemographic predictors among adolescents from countries in Europe (Italy and Spain) and Latin America (Brazil, Chile, and Colombia) during the SARS-CoV-2-pandemic period. It is across-sectional study via web survey. International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and weekly ultra-processed food consumption data were used. To compare the frequencies of physical activity status with sociodemographic variables, a multinomial logistic and a multiple logistic regression for habitual ultra-processed foods was performed.
UNHCR and WFP warn refugees in Africa face hunger and malnutrition as COVID-19 worsens food shortages
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Food Programme (WFP) are warning that severe underfunding, conflict and disasters – as well as supply chain challenges, rising food prices and loss of income due to COVID19 - threaten to leave millions of refugees across Africa without food.
COVID-19 and maternal and child food and nutrition insecurity: a complex syndemic

AUTHOR(S)
Rafael Perez-Escamilla; Kenda Cunningham; Victoria Hall Moran

Published: July 2020   Journal: Maternal & Child Nutrition
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has already led to major increases in unemployment and is expected to lead to unprecedented increases in poverty and food and nutrition insecurity, as well as poor health outcomes. Families where young children, youth, pregnant and lactating women live need to be protected against the ongoing protracted pandemic and the aftershocks that are very likely to follow for years to come. The future wellbeing of the vast majority of the world now depends on reconfiguring the current ineffective food, nutrition, health, and social protection systems to ensure food and nutrition security for all. Because food, nutrition, health, and socio-economic outcomes are intimately inter-linked, it is essential that we find out how to effectively address the need to reconfigure and to provide better intersecoral coordination among global and local food, health care, and social protection systems taking equity and sutainability principles into account. Implementation science research informed by complex adaptive sytems frameworks will be needed to fill in the major knowledge gaps. Not doing so will not only put the development of individuals at further risk, but also negatively impact on the development potential of entire nations and ultimately our planet.
Covid-19 confinement and changes of adolescent’s dietary trends in Italy, Spain, Chile, Colombia and Brazil

AUTHOR(S)
María Belén Ruiz-Roso; Patricia de Carvalho Padilha Carvalho Padilha; Diana C. Mantilla-Escalante (et al.)

Published: June 2020   Journal: Nutrients
Confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic can influence dietary profiles, especially those of adolescents, who are highly susceptible to acquiring bad eating habits. Adolescents’ poor dietary habits increase their subsequent risk of degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular pathologies, etc. This paper aims to study nutritional modifications during COVID-19 confinement in adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, compare them with their usual diet and dietary guidelines, and identify variables that may have influenced changes.
The Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Tal Rafaeli; Geraldine Hutchinson

Published: June 2020   Journal: K4D Helpdesk Report
Based on emerging evidence and lessons from past health crises, there is strong evidence to suggest that women and girls in SSA will suffer from extreme and multifaceted negative secondary impact as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of which may include higher poverty rates, increase in unplanned pregnancies, a surge in school dropout rates and child labour of adolescent girls, loss of income and reduced financial empowerment, increased household work, reduced access to healthcare and WASH alongside increased maternal deaths, and greater food insecurity and malnutrition.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Children in Temporary Accommodation in the UK

AUTHOR(S)
Diana Margo Rosenthal; Marcella Ucci; Michelle Heys (et al.)

Published: May 2020   Journal: The Lancet Public Health
There is no doubt that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has huge economic implications as highlighted by the media, but there are also a myriad of considerable direct and indirect health, social, and educational consequences for children and families experiencing homelessness, while living in temporary or insecure accommodation (eg, staying with friends or family, sofa surfing, shelters, bed and breakfast lodging). In particular, young children (aged ≤5 years) living in temporary accommodation have an invisible plight that might not seem obvious to many people because they are not on the streets as homeless (eg, rough sleepers), but are perhaps the most susceptible to viral infection because of pre-existing conditions (eg, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, anxiety, depression).1 Additionally, these children rarely have the ability to self-isolate and adhere to social distancing, with previous extreme inequalities and inequities in accessing health care becoming exacerbated.
Mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition of schoolchildren
While cases of COVID-19 appear to be fewer among children (and symptoms generally milder), national responses to the pandemic can have important consequences for child nutrition and educational outcomes.
Effects of COVID‐19 Lockdown on Lifestyle Behaviors in Children with Obesity Living in Verona, Italy: A Longitudinal Study

AUTHOR(S)
Angelo Pietrobelli; Luca Pecorato; Alessandro Ferruzzi (et al.)

Published: April 2020   Journal: Obesity Society

 The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had far-reaching health, social, and economic implications. Among them is the abrupt cessation of school programs for children and adolescents in Italy who by mandate had to remain in their homes during the “lockdown” aimed at containing and mitigating spread of COVID19. There are reasons to be concerned about housebound children and adolescents who have overweight and obesity; previous studies have supported the hypothesis that these youths will fare worse on weight-control lifestyle programs while at home compared with when they are engaged in their usual school curriculum.

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have supported the hypothesis that these youths will fare worse on
weight-control lifestyle programs while at home compared with when
they are engaged in their usual school curriculum (1)
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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.