The Impacts of COVID-19 on Children in Mozambique
For ten million children of Mozambique who have already been living in some form of poverty, COVID-19 means a deeper and more prolonged poverty and the denial of their basic rights.
Maputo, Mozambique - The Children's Fortnight, the 15 days between International Children’s Day (June 1) and the Day of the African Child (June 16), have always been a period of reflection on the state of children’s rights in the country and on how we can improve their lives. Usually, it’s also a very joyful time where we all get together with children and youth and celebrate the wonders of childhood with dancing, singing, and playing together. This year, we celebrate differently, because we need to keep our distance from each other to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
According to the latest census data, there are over 14 million Mozambican children aged 0−17, representing more than half of the total population. Children have been the group that has been less affected directly by COVID-19 infection globally, compared to older populations. However, as the indirect effects of measures to fight the pandemic take root in the social and economic realities of cities and communities, the short-, medium- and long-term impacts on children and adolescents can no longer be ignored.
"It is very sad and also symbolic for the seriousness of the situation for children in Mozambique: not only are there direct health threats because of the virus, but there is a severe secondary impact on children regarding education, protection, WASH and regular health care, as well as nutrition. The pandemic will also affect the same children and families who have barely recovered and are still suffering from recent major shocks such as cyclones, drought, floods and conflict, which severely impact their lives," said Katarina Johansson, UNICEF Mozambique Representative a.i.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is launching a series of policy briefs to highlight the impact of COVID 19 on children in Mozambique. This first note, accompanied by a data sheet, discusses the key areas of concern for the well-being of children in short-, medium-, and long-term if the right actions are not taken. This includes the risks of falling into poverty or aggravation of poverty as well as serious set-backs on development outcomes for children, especially the most vulnerable.
"I hope this information will ignite a reflection and constructive dialog at all policy levels and between a broad range of actors to respond to this emergency, recover children’s futures and, to ‘reimagine’ a Mozambique fit for every child after this crisis subsides. Let us continue our strong partnership and stand united with the promise to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for children in Mozambique, especially the most vulnerable," concluded Katarina Johansson.