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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 49
Adolescent girls and COVID-19: Mapping the evidence on interventions

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Blake; Miriam Temin; Tara Abularrage (et al.)

Institution: Population Council
Published: November 2021
With the COVID-19 crisis continuing to evolve, evidence on the effectiveness of short-term emergency-oriented responses and long-term mitigation strategies is expanding but still limited. There are, and will continue to be, substantial evidence gaps on programming to address risk across outcomes of importance to adolescent girls. More evidence is needed to slow the risks posed by the pandemic for this sub-population, which can help guide gender- and age-responsive prevention and impact mitigation investments. Evidence from approaches delivered in other unstable contexts may offer important lessons for decision-making in the current context. Recognizing this, the Population Council conducted a structured review of existing evidence collected prior to the pandemic, across low- and middle-income country contexts (under the auspices of the Adolescent Girls Investment Plan, AGIP1 ).
COVID-19 and Child Marriage: How COVID-19’s impact on hunger and education is forcing children into marriage

AUTHOR(S)
Kate Shaw; Tendai Chigavazira; Tamara Tutnjevic

Institution: World Vision
Published: October 2021

How COVID-19's impact on hunger and education is forcing children into marriage. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most experts estimated child marriage would continue for many more decades. Because the pandemic has increased poverty levels and hunger, and decreased access to education, the risk of girls becoming child brides is also increasing. This report pairs data from World Vision’s Youth Healthy Behaviour Survey with global literature to better understand the conditions which enable child marriage and how these conditions may be changing because of the global pandemic. The report analyzes 14,964 observations from children and youth aged 12 to 18 from World Vision programming sites in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, and Zimbabwe. Case studies also provide insights into the lives of girls within these communities.

COVID-19 and health sector development plans in Africa: the impact on maternal and child health outcomes in Uganda

AUTHOR(S)
M. G. Atim; V. D. Kajogoo; D. Amare (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Risk Management and Healthcare Policy
Health Sector Development Plans (HSDPs) aim to accelerate movement towards achieving sustainable development goals for health, reducing inequalities, and ending poverty. Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services are vulnerable to economic imbalances, including health insecurity, unmet need for healthcare, and low health expenditure. The same vulnerability influences the potential of a country to combat global outbreaks such as the COVID-19. This paper aimed to provide some important insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on RMNCH indicators and outcomes of the HSDP in Uganda.
COVID-19 and women and girls’ health in low and middle-income countries: an updated review of the evidence

AUTHOR(S)
Abiola Awofeso; Lotus McDougal; Y-Ling Chi (et al.)

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: October 2021

In an updated review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting women’s and girls’ health in low- and middle-income contexts, this study examined 247 studies between January and March 2021 (peer-reviewed papers, pre-prints, and working papers that met specific search terms, and contained empirical analyses and findings). This collection of evidence largely reinforces previous findings that in many areas, women are bearing the greatest burdens of the crisis. Evidence continues to mount that there has been disruption of access to and utilization of maternal health services and contraceptive services, disproportionately worse mental health for women versus men, as well as worsened mental health for pregnant women during the pandemic. This review also identifies new research indicating mixed evidence on COVID-19- related knowledge and behaviors and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality by gender. Gaps remain on several health issues (e.g., non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases other than HIV). Existing research also focuses primarily on describing and quantifying the burden of these gendered health impacts, rather than sharing effective mitigation strategies.

Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and country responses for mitigating learning loss

AUTHOR(S)
Carolina Alban Conto; Spogmai Akseer; Thomas Dreesen (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
This article investigates to what extent disrupted schooling and dropout affects children’s acquisition of foundational skills prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using household survey data from thirteen low- and lower-middle-income countries, we find that missing or dropping out of school is associated with lower reading and numeracy outcomes. Drawing on global surveys conducted during the pandemic, we find that countries’ remote learning responses are often inadequate to keep all children learning, avoid dropout, and mitigate the learning losses our findings predict, particularly for marginalized children and those at the pre-primary level.
Covid one year on: why children are still out of school
Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2021

A snapshot survey carried out by Save the Children in 6 countries where schools have reopened, suggests that 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, significant numbers of the most vulnerable children are still out of school. This is not because of fear of the virus, but a result of child labour, child marriage, financial hardship, relocation and other consequences of the pandemic - and girls are particularly at risk. These briefs summarise the “out-of-school” context in these 6 countries – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Somalia, and Uganda.

“I Must Work to Eat”: Covid-19, poverty, and child labor in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda
Institution: Human Rights Watch
Published: September 2021

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, countries around the globe had made remarkable progress in reducing child labor. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of children in child labor decreased by approximately 94 million between 2000 and 2016, representing a drop of 38 percent. But as the pandemic caused massive school closures and unprecedented loss of jobs and income for millions of families, many children have entered the workforce to help their families survive, while others have been forced to work longer hours or enter more precarious and exploitative situations. Some have become their families’ primary breadwinners after losing a caregiver to Covid-19. Some despair of ever going back to school. This report examines the rise in child labor and poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic in three countries: Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda, the impact on children’s rights, and government responses. Each of the three countries has made significant progress reducing poverty and child labor in recent decades. Each has also made an explicit commitment as a “pathfinder” country to accelerate efforts to eradicate child labor in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Teaching and testing by phone in a pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Lee Crawfurd; David K. Evans; Susannah Hares (et al.)

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: September 2021
How did children learn while schools were closed during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic? In low-income countries where internet access is scarce, distance learning is often passive, via TV or radio, with little opportunity for teacher-student interaction. In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of live tutoring calls from teachers, using a randomized controlled trial with 4,399 primary school students in Sierra Leone. Tutoring calls increased engagement in educational activity but had no effect on mathematics or language test scores, for girls or boys. We also make a methodological contribution, testing the reliability of student assessments conducted by phone. Phone-based assessments have sensible properties, but we find suggestive evidence that scores are higher than with in-person assessments, and there is differential item functioning across survey modes for most individual questions.
Are working children in developing countries hidden victims of pandemics?

AUTHOR(S)
Polyxeni Kechagia; Theodore Metaxas (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Social Sciences
The consequences of the recent pandemic have been disproportionately disruptive to several social groups, including children. As developing economies have been firefighting the recent pandemic, the welfare of minors could be affected and children’s economic exploitation and abuse could increase. Therefore, the present research aims to shed light on and to investigate the association between child labour in developing countries and pandemics, including the coronavirus, through conducting a systematic literature review on previous empirical studies. The present research concludes that previous studies on non-COVID-19 pandemics have mainly focused on the African economies, while studies on the recent pandemic have focused on Asian countries. In addition, differences were observed in relation to the methodological approaches and the characteristics of minor employees and the protection services in certain countries have proven to be insufficient.
Mainstreaming gender into social protection strategies and programmes: Evidence from 74 low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti; Tara Patricia Cookson; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF, UN Women
Published: July 2021

The importance of mainstreaming gender into social protection policies and programmes is increasingly recognized. However, evidence on the extent to which this is actually happening remains limited. This report contributes to filling this evidence gap by drawing on the findings of two complementary research projects undertaken by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and UN Women in 2019. Using a specifically developed analytical framework, these two projects reviewed 50 national social protection strategies and 40 social protection programmes across a total of 74 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to assess the extent to which they incorporate gender equality concerns.

Unequal experience of COVID-induced remote schooling in four developing countries

AUTHOR(S)
Mobarak Hossain

Institution: Young Lives
Published: July 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
Lockdown measures during the pandemic have resulted in school closure worldwide affecting nearly 9 out of 10 students. Consequently, remote schooling has become a growing phenomenon. However, due to a lack of infrastructural capacity and widespread poverty, the experience of remote learning in developing countries may have been unequal by pupils’ socioeconomic status, gender and location. This study draws evidence from a phone survey conducted by Young Lives (YL) in Ethiopia, two states of India, Peru and Vietnam enquiring which sociodemographic groups are benefiting more from remote schooling.
Challenges in maternal and child health services delivery and access during pandemics or public health disasters in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review

AUTHOR(S)
Krushna Chandra Sahoo; Sapna Negi; Kripalini Patel (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Healthcare
Maternal and child health (MCH) has been a global priority for many decades and is an essential public health service. Ensuring seamless delivery is vital for desirable MCH outcomes. This systematic review outlined the challenges in accessing and continuing MCH services during public health emergencies—pandemics and disasters. A comprehensive search approach was built based on keywords and MeSH terms relevant to ‘MCH services’ and ‘pandemics/disasters’. The online repositories Medline, CINAHL, Psyc INFO, and Epistemonikos were searched for studies. We included twenty studies—seven were on the Ebola outbreak, two on the Zika virus, five related to COVID-19, five on disasters, and one related to conflict situations. The findings indicate the potential impact of emergencies on MCH services. Low utilization and access to services have been described as common challenges. The unavailability of personal safety equipment and fear of infection were primary factors that affected service delivery. The available evidence, though limited, indicates the significant effect of disasters and pandemics on MCH. However, more primary in-depth studies are needed to understand better the overall impact of emergencies, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, on MCH.
Feasibility and acceptability of a synchronous online parent-mediated early intervention for children with autism in a low resource setting during COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Koyeli Sengupta; Aakankshi Javeri; Cristabelle Mascarenhas (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Very few studies exist on tele-health models of parent-mediated interventions delivered in low resource developing countries. The global COVID-19 pandemic catalysed a pilot of an online delivery of an evidence-based parent-mediated intervention (Project ImPACT) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mumbai, India. Context and culture-specific adaptations were made in program structure and a mixed-methods approach was adopted to evaluate acceptability, feasibility and preliminary efficacy of this model. Quantitative results (n = 12) showed excellent completion rates, with significant improvement in parent fidelity to intervention and child social-communication skills. Analysis of qualitative data from focus groups with parents on completion revealed that parents found the online mode convenient and acceptable, found the synchronous model of sessions especially beneficial and perceived improvements in their own parenting skills and children’s developmental profiles.
The intergenerational mortality tradeoff of COVID-19 lockdown policies

AUTHOR(S)
Lin Ma; Gil Shapira; Damien de Walque (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2021
In lower-income countries, the economic contractions that accompany lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 can increase child mortality, counteracting the mortality reductions achieved by the lockdown. To formalize and quantify this effect, this paper builds a macro-susceptible-infected-recovered model that features heterogeneous agents and a country-group-specific relationship between economic downturns and child mortality. The model is calibrated to data for 85 countries across all income levels. The findings show that in low-income countries, a lockdown can potentially lead to 1.76 children’s lives lost due to the economic contraction per COVID-19 fatality averted. The figure stands at 0.59 and 0.06 in lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries, respectively. As a result, in some countries, lockdowns can produce net increases in mortality. The optimal lockdowns are shorter and milder in poorer countries than in rich ones and never produce a net mortality increase.
Double burden of malnutrition among women of reproductive age in 55 low- and middle-income countries: progress achieved and opportunities for meeting the global target

AUTHOR(S)
Md. Mehedi Hasan; Saifuddin Ahmed; ● Ricardo J. Soares Magalhaes (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

The aim of this study is to examine trends and projections of underweight (Body Mass Index, BMI < 18.5 kg/m2) and overweight (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2) in women of reproductive age in 55 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It used data from 2,337,855 women aged 15–49 years from nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey conducted between 1990 and 2018. Bayesian linear regression analyses were performed.

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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.