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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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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   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.
Management of mother-newborn dyads in the COVID-19 era

AUTHOR(S)
Melissa M Medvedev

Published: July 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in more than 11·6 million cases of COVID-19 and 538 000 deaths as of July 7, 2020.
The USA is the worst affected country, with more than 2·9 million cases. Evidence regarding transmission risk, clinical presentation, and consequences of SARS-CoV-2 among neonates of infected mothers is scarce. Risk of vertical transmission appears to be low, which is consistent with other coronaviruses.
Cite this research | Open access | No. of pages: 2 | Tags: breastfeeding, child care, risk, COVID-19 | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Countries: United States
Learning in times of lockdown: how Covid-19 is affecting education and food security in India

AUTHOR(S)
Muzna Alvi; Manavi Gupta

Published: July 2020   Food Security
This paper discusses the implications of lockdown-induced school and rural child-care center closures on education and health outcomes for the urban and rural poor. It focuses on food and nutritional security of children who depend on school feeding and supplementary nutrition programs. Authors argue that the impacts are likely to be much more severe for girls as well as for children from already disadvantaged ethnic and caste groups. They also discuss ways in which existing social security programs can be leveraged and strengthened to ameliorate these impacts.
Gender Inequality and the COVID-19 Crisis: A Human Development Perspective
Published: July 2020   UNDP Report
Across several social, economic, and political dimensions, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the crisis simply because of their sex. The immediate effects of COVID-19 on gender inequality are already showing themselves in health and education, on the burden of unpaid care work and gender-based violence.
While the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone, women and girls face specific and often disproportionate economic, health, and social risks due to deeply entrenched inequalities, social norms, and unequal power relations. Understanding the gender-differentiated impacts of the COVID-19 crisis through sex-disaggregated data is fundamental to designing policy responses that reduce vulnerable conditions and strengthen women's agency, placing gender equality at their centre. This is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient world.
The Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Tal Rafaeli; Geraldine Hutchinson

Published: June 2020   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.
Soro Sali, a 39 years old woman is practicing Kangaroo, at the Regional Hospital of Korhogo, in the North of Côte d'Ivoire.
Data to inform the COVID-19 response
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Timely, disaggregated, and quality data on the situation of children can help identify where the most vulnerable live so that interventions to counteract the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 can be implemented to reach those most in need. UNICEF’s call to protect children, especially the most marginalized, is essential now more than ever and our global databases can inform that response by painting a picture of children around the world. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, where are children especially vulnerable to physical punishment? Are sufficient hygiene facilities available in schools? And is healthcare accessible for children with acute respiratory symptoms? How will the most vulnerable children, such as those living on the street or in refugee camps fare? Data like these can provide guidance for UNICEF and country programmes so that our efforts to mitigate and overcome the effects of the pandemic can be measured.
Maintaining safety and service provision in human milk banking: a call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Natalie Shenker

Published: June 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
When a mother's own milk is not available, WHO recommends pasteurised donor human milk as the first alternative.  Human milk banks screen and recruit donors, and have wide-ranging precautions to ensure the safety of donor milk. Screened donor milk principally feeds babies of very low birthweight, protecting them from a range of complications, as well as babies with congenital anomalies or neurological conditions. The benefits of a human milk diet highlight the importance of providing these infants with donor milk for short periods—with appropriate use in the context of optimal support for lactation, such provision can support mothers to establish their milk supply without the need for supplementation with infant formula milk. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is presenting many challenges to human milk banks worldwide and highlights a range of vulnerabilities in service provision and emergency preparedness. 
Children wait for a teacher in a classroom at Treichville Regional School, in the city of Abidjan. Although the school reopened after being closed for many years due to armed conflict, most teachers remain absent. (2011)
Framework for reopening schools
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Global school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic present an unprecedented risk to children’s education, protection and well-being. Schools do much more than teach children how to read, write and count. They also provide nutrition, health and hygiene services; mental health and psychosocial support; and dramatically reduce the risk of violence, early pregnancy and more. And it’s the most vulnerable children who are the hardest hit by school closures, and we know from previous crises that the longer they are out of school, the less likely they are to return.When deciding whether to reopen schools, authorities should look at the benefits and risks across education, public health and socio-economic factors, in the local context, using the best available evidence. This policy brief aims to inform the decision-making process regarding school reopening, support national preparations and guide the implementation process, as part of overall public health and education planning processes. The guidelines outline six key priorities to assess the readiness of those schools and inform planning.
Child poverty, food insecurity, and respiratory health during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ian P Sinha; Alice R Lee; Davara Bennett; et al.

Published: June 2020   Lancet Respir Med
The eradication of poverty and hunger are the top sustainable development goals, adopted by UN Member States in 2015. Yet the World Food Programme estimates that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, acute food insecurity could double from 135 to 265 million people worldwide. In the absence of mitigating policies, poverty leading to food insecurity will damage the respiratory health of a generation of children.
COVID-19 Impacts on African Children: How to protect-a-generation at risk

AUTHOR(S)
Eric Hazard

Published: June 2020  
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented with the virus spreading in almost all countries in the world. In Africa, 55 out of 54 countries have reported at least one COVID-19 infection. Luckily for Africa, confirmed COVID-19 cases remain comparatively low, at 158,000 as of June 3rd; which is partly attributable to early and decisive action taken by many African governments as well as a youthful population. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Africa not only as a health crisis but also as a devastating socio-economic crisis that may persist over the months and years to come. This policy paper underscores that, although children do not represent a high-risk group for direct COVID-19 fatality, the pandemic posts far-reaching secondary impacts that heighten risks to African children’s rights and wellbeing.
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   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.
COVID-19 Risks to Children's Health and Nutrition
Published: May 2020  
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting millions of children at heightened risk, and jeopardising their immediate and long-term health and well-being. As countries around the world battle to prevent, contain and respond to COVID-19, it is critical that their efforts reach those most vulnerable and ensure primary health care  is continued and accessible to all. All stakeholders must take proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on children’s health and nutrition, and response efforts should consider vulnerable children’s needs and rights. Based on extensive experience working with children, families and communities in emergencies, including epidemics, World Vision outlines a number of recommendations for Governments, UN Agencies, Donors, NGOS, Private Sector, and Faith Leaders. 
How COVID-19 is changing the world: A statistical perspective
Published: May 2020  

This report has been compiled jointly by 36 international organizations, under the aegis of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA).
It covers different aspects of public and private life from economic and environmental fluctuations to changes that affect individuals in terms of income, education, employment and violence and changes affecting public services such as civil aviation and postal services. The report also puts a spotlight on the affects for some sub-population groups like women and children as well as geographical regions. Children already left behind will likely bear the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, whether through missing out on life-saving vaccinations, increased risk of violence, or interrupted education. Many children, especially those in the poorest households and the poorest parts of the world, risk losing their lives to pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, HIV and other preventable diseases unless urgent action is taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

Breastfeeding of infants born to mothers with COVID-19: a rapid review

AUTHOR(S)
Nan Yang; Siyi Che; Jingyi Zhang; et al.

Published: May 2020   Annals of Translational Medicine

In December 2019, a pneumonia caused by a previously unknown coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. During the subsequent weeks and months, the disease, later named COVID-19, spread rapidly nationwide and globally, and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Existing studies have confirmed that all people are susceptible to this novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Cases of COVID-19 among pregnant and lactating women have also been confirmed. Chinese guidelines recommend suspending breastfeeding if the mother is suspected or confirmed with COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the USA have published recommendations for mothers with COVID-19 and their family members and healthcare providers on whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. However, none of the above recommendations provide relevant supporting evidence. As existing recommendations on whether mothers with COVID-19 should continue breastfeeding are still conflicting. We aimed to conduct a rapid review of the mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during breastfeeding.

The Impact of COVID-19 on children
Published: April 2020  

The UN Secretary-General has launched a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children. The brief lays out the ways in which the virus will impact children.  Whilst they appear largely to be spared the worst symptoms of the disease, they may well be among the biggest victims of the crisis in the long run because their education, nutrition, safety and health will be significantly undermined by the socioeconomic impact and by unintended consequences of the pandemic response. The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. This policy brief provides a deeper analysis of these effects. It identifies also a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.

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   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.

1).
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)
A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19
Published: April 2020  
This report sets out the framework for the United Nations’ urgent socio-economic support to countries and societies in the face of COVID-19, putting in practice the UN Secretary-General’s Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity report on the same subject. It is one of three critical components of the UN’s efforts to save lives, protect people, and rebuild better, alongside the health response, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the humanitarian response, as detailed in the UN-led COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
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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. Learn more.

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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.