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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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HIV and SRH healthcare delivery experiences of South African healthcare workers and adolescents and young people during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Jane Kelly; Lesley Gittings; Christina Laurenzi (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Psychology, Health & Medicine
While substantial research has emerged from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from studies with adolescent populations, there has been a dearth of research focused in South Africa on the context-specific experiences of healthcare workers (HCWs) and the adolescents and young people (AYP) to whom they provide services. This article documents the experiences of provision and receipt of HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services during the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of South African HCWs (n = 13) and AYP (n = 41, ages 17–29).
Child, adolescent, and caregiver mental health difficulties and associated risk factors early in the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Jenny Bloom; Anusha Lachman; Ezethu Gaxo (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 in South Africa, many safety measures were implemented to protect the lives of the population. Ironically, these same safety measures have negatively impacted on the lives of children and their caregivers resulting in increased mental health problems. This study forms part of the multicountry Co-SPACE (COVID-19: Supporting Parents, Adolescents and Children during Epidemics) study that explores how families are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what caregivers can do to help support their children’s mental health. This paper aims to gain a better understanding of the mental health status of families specifically in South Africa in the early onset of the pandemic during restrictive lockdown measures, and identify certain risk factors that might contribute towards deteriorating mental health. Two hundred and fifty-four South African parents and carers of children and adolescents completed an online survey about their child’s mental health as well as their own mental health during and post- hard lockdown in South Africa. Data collection took place over the period of the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.
Feeding practices in public hospitals' neonatal intensive care units: An exploration into the ways in which COVID-19 affected the best practice in Gauteng

AUTHOR(S)
Kim A. Coutts; Joanne Neille; Nicole Louw

Published: July 2022   Journal: South African Journal of Communication Disorders

South Africa’s healthcare system has a multitude of pre-existing challenges prior to the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, ranging from reduced number of staff, lack of resources and units being at overcapacity both in the adult and paediatric populations. The neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) require a team approach to ensure best practice with vulnerable infants, but little is known about how the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown restrictions impacted the feeding practices within the NICU. This study aimed to explore the impact that COVID-19 had on the feeding practices within the NICU settings in public hospitals in Gauteng. A qualitative design was employed with data collected in two NICUs in Gauteng. Data were collected in the form of observations and semi-structured interviews with healthcare workers (HCWs) in the NICU. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

Implications of COVID-19 labour market shock for child and household hungers in South Africa: do social protection programs protect?

AUTHOR(S)
Dambala Gelo; Johane Dikgang

Published: July 2022   Journal: Plos One

Recent studies have confirmed that the COVID-19 lockdown has caused massive job losses. However, the impact of this loss on food security is not well-understood. Moreover, a paucity of evidence exists regarding social protection grants’ countervailing effects against such shocks. This study examined the effects of job loss (labour income loss) on child and household hungers (our two measures food insecurity) during COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. It also ascertained whether these effect were offset by alternative social grant programs to document the protective role of the latter.It used South Africa’s National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) and the Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) data. These data cover a nationally representative sample of 7073 individuals. We employed a probit model to estimate the effect of job loss and receipts of various social grants on child and households’ hungers. It also estimated the double-selection logit model to account for the model’s uncertainty surrounding the variable selection and treatment-effects estimation using lasso (Telasso) for causal inference of our analysis.

Teachers' experiences of parents' involvement in Foundation Phase learning during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Annemie Grobler

Published: June 2022   Journal: Perspectives in Education
This interpretive study documents experiences of teachers regarding the impact of parental participation on the learning process of Foundation Phase learners during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The period investigated stretched from the “hard” lockdown in South Africa instituted on 26 March 2020, until the reopening of the physical classroom for Foundation Phase learners on 24 August 2020. A qualitative approach was taken to generate data from participants who taught Grade 1 classes during 2020, using a self-constructed questionnaire with openand closed-ended items. The study population was localised to the Mangaung municipal area in the Free State, South Africa. The theoretical framework of socio-constructivism informed the inquiry. The key elements in this learning theory are the learners, curriculum, teachers and society. During the mentioned period, learners were deprived of the two key inputs of teachers and society, leading to an intensified dependency on parental involvement as a source of guidance.
Adaptation and resilience: lessons learned from implementing a combination health and education intervention for adolescent girls and young women in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Zoe Duby; Brittany Bunce; Chantal Fowler (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Health Services
The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with reduced access to health services and worsening health outcomes for HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Through the analysis of data from an evaluation study of a combination intervention for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa, this study sought to examine the way in which implementation and service provision were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, describing the adaptation implementers made to respond to this context. The intervention was implemented from 2019 in South African districts identified as high priority, given the high rates of HIV and teenage pregnancy amongst AGYW.
Impact of COVID-19 lockdown and link to women and children's experiences of violence in the home in South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
P. Mahlangu; A. Gibbs; N. Shai (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health
Evidence on the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown remains at an early stage. There is limited research about the impact of hard lockdown restrictions on families, specifically how these restrictions impact on women and children’s experiences of domestic violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse in South Africa. This research was conducted among men and women in Gauteng province, South Africa to understand their experiences of the COVID-19 national lockdown and its impact and link to women and children’s experiences of domestic violence.
Health information and education needs for youth with complex communication needs during the Covid-19 pandemic: rehabilitation professionals’ perspectives

AUTHOR(S)
Kerstin Monika Tönsing; Shakila Dada; Kirsty Bastable (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Disability and Rehabilitation

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted inequities faced by persons with complex communication needs (CCN) in accessing health information and education. This study reports on the perspectives of South African rehabilitation professionals regarding access to health information and education for youth with CCN. Two asynchronous online written focus groups were conducted with 15 rehabilitation professionals. Participants’ contributions were thematically analysed.

Two years after lockdown: reviewing the effects of COVID-19 on health services and support for adolescents living with HIV in South Africa.

AUTHOR(S)
Quintinvan Staden; Christina A. Laurenzi; Elona Toska

Published: April 2022   Journal: The Journal of the International AIDS Society

South Africa’s progress towards the 95-95-95 goals has been significantly slower among adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV), among whom antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, retention in care and viral suppression remain a concern. After 2 years of living with COVID-19, it is important to examine the direct and indirect effect s of the pandemic on healthcare resources, access to HIV services and availability of support structures, to assess their impact on HIV care for ALHIV.

Life under lockdown for children with autism spectrum disorder: insights from families in South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Skye Nandi Adams; Jaishika Seedat; Joanne Neille

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remain vulnerable during the Covid-19 outbreak due to significant changes to their daily routines, social interactions and diets. In addition, these challenges may be exacerbated for children living in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) such as South Africa where there are already barriers such as poverty, access to resources and availability of support. Understanding the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on children with ASD is imperative in order to create awareness as well as provide equitable services and support to both children with ASD and their families. This study aimed to explore family-reported changes for children with ASD and their reactions and responses to the Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa.

Transforming teaching and learning in early childhood care and education during COVID-19 in a poor community of the Cape Flats, South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Naseema Shaik

Published: March 2022   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This case study explored the dilemmas of three early childhood care and education (ECCE) teachers in a poor community in the Cape Flats of Cape Town, South Africa during COVID-19, and how they used these dilemmas to transform their teaching. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants and data was collected through a semi-structured interview and thematically analyzed. Ethical clearance was secured from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Mezirow’s transformative learning theory was used as an analytical framework for the study. In particular, Mezirow’s concept of disorienting dilemmas was used to engage with the dilemmas the ECCE teachers were confronted with during the pandemic.
Intersections between COVID-19 and socio-economic mental health stressors in the lives of South African adolescent girls and young women

AUTHOR(S)
Zoe Duby; Brittany Bunce; Chantal Fowler (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
In contexts where poverty and mental health stressors already interact to negatively impact the most vulnerable populations, COVID-19 is likely to have worsened these impacts. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa already faced intersecting mental health stressors and vulnerabilities. It is critical to understand how additional challenges brought on by COVID-19 have intersected with existing vulnerabilities and mental health risks AGYW faced, particularly given the intersections between psychological distress and increased risk behaviours that impact sexual and reproductive health. This study aimed to examine socio-economic and mental health impacts of COVID-19 on South African AGYW in order to understand how additional challenges brought on by COVID-19 have intersected with existing challenges, compounding AGYW vulnerabilities.
Food insecurity, depressive symptoms, and the salience of gendered family roles during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Debra L. Shepherd

Published: February 2022   Journal: Social Science & Medicine
Extensive research has indicated food insecurity to be associated with depressive symptoms, both of which have been indicated to increase globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. Few studies, however, have made use of nationally representative and longitudinal data to investigate this relationship, making causal claims difficult. In South Africa (SA), as with other low- and middle-income contexts, population-based studies have generally focused on mothers during the perinatal period and other vulnerable groups. This study made use of Cross-Lagged Dynamic Panel Models to examine the relationship between household food insecurity and the depressive symptoms of adults across three waves of the National Income Dynamics Survey–Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) study collected in 2020 and 2021, a dataset nationally representative of all adults in SA in 2017. Stratification of the sample by gender, parenthood and marital statuses allowed for the assessment of gender differences in family roles that might account for differential impacts of food insecurity on mental health outcomes.
Paediatric hospitalisations due to COVID-19 during the first SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) variant wave in South Africa: a multicentre observational study

AUTHOR(S)
Jeané Cloete; Annelet Kruger; Maureen Masha (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health

South Africa reported a notable increase in COVID-19 cases from mid-November, 2021, onwards, starting in Tshwane District, which coincided with the rapid community spread of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) variant. This increased infection rate coincided with a rapid increase in paediatric COVID-19-associated admissions to hospital (hereafter referred to as hospitalisations). The Tshwane Maternal-Child COVID-19 study is a multicentre observational study which investigated the clinical manifestations and outcomes of paediatric patients (aged ≤19 years) who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were admitted to hospital for any reason in Tshwane District during a 6-week period at the beginning of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa. It used five data sources, which were: (1) COVID-19 line lists; (2) collated SARS-CoV-2 testing data; (3) SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing data; (4) COVID-19 hospitalisation surveillance; and (5) clinical data of public sector COVID-19-associated hospitalisations among children aged 13 years and younger.

Social protection in the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons from South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Lena Gronbach; Jeremy Seekings; Vayda Megannon

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: February 2022
South Africa responded to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown using a combination of existing social protection programmes, unemployment insurance, and additional measures to support those most affected. This paper reviews policies and implementation with the objective of highlighting lessons for the global community, including on the use of digital mechanisms.
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Each quarterly thematic digest features the latest evidence drawn from the Children and COVID-19 Research Library on a particular topic of interest.
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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.