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Beyond Masks

Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents
Beyond Masks: Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents

 

Publication series:
Innocenti Research Report

No. of pages: 16

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(PDF, 2.61 MB)

Abstract

All children are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, often in multiple ways.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is a universal crisis that has been devastating for children, families and communities, and shows no signs of abating as 2021 approaches. Ex­amining the available evidence to understand the poten­tial and actual societal effects on children and identifying viable evidence-based solutions are critical pathways to inform timely policy and programmatic responses. This Executive Summary of the UNICEF Innocenti report Beyond Masks: Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents provides a review of literature on the societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as past health and economic shocks, and possible solutions for mitigating impact at individual, household and societal levels.   

The evidence base on the societal impacts of the pandemic is still nascent. For children, it is weaker still, largely due to the paucity of age-disaggregated data and the relatively low number of paediatric studies, particu­larly in low- and middle-income countries and especially beyond the biomedical sphere. Consequently, in order to best inform child-sensitive responses, we also examined evidence from prior epidemics and shocks to find in­sights to inform the current COVID-19 crisis. We looked at the prior societal impacts of previous infectious dis­ease epidemics, including Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS and tuberculosis, and particularly HIV/AIDS where there is a very robust evidence base.  

While there are promising signs of potential break­throughs for vaccines, rapid non-invasive tests and treatment options – all of which will help to slow and address the impacts of the pandemic – it is likely to be a long time before these interventions are available to all children and families, and particularly the poorest and most disadvantaged. As a result, there is an urgent need to find scalable and cost-effective solutions to the continued and deepening impact of the COVID-19 crisis on them.

Available in:
English

More in this series: Innocenti Research Report

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In 2021, an estimated 37 million children were forcibly displaced across the globe. Ensuring these children continue their education in times of crisis is a significant challenge. One tool that can help children stay in education is basic mobile phones. Basic mobile phones can provide learning through multiple channels, such as text messages, voice calls, nudges and lessons through radio broadcasts. This report outlines, in detail, how mobile phones can be applied as a learning tool in emergency settings. It also provides practical case studies and references for how mobile phones have been used to teach students, support parents and train teachers. This report is also part of the On Call two-part series on the uses of mobile technologies for education in emergency settings, with the second report focusing on mobile technologies for learning assessments.