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|Children’s Stories From Nigeria by Terrancal: 2:17am On Jun 04, 2021|
Children’s stories from Nigeria bring home the stark reality of Covid-19’s impact on their lives
For every parent who died, a child has been bereaved. For every teacher who died, a child has lost a shining light. And for every school that was closed, millions of children in poor countries without access to the internet were left further behind. LEADERSHIP newspaper invited children from five secondary schools in Abuja to produce a special newspaper, headlined, ‘My Covid-19 experience.’
It all seems like memories from a distant past. But it’s not. This time last year we were in a lockdown. The world was under the monstrous grip of the coronavirus. Rumours and speculation about the origin and nature of this invincible foe were rife, leaving data and science in the dust. Fear ruled the world.
The situation in Europe, especially in Italy and Spain, was particularly dire as the virus overwhelmed their sophisticated medical systems. While researchers and scientists struggled to crack the pathogen, dead bodies that could not be accommodated in morgues began to spill on to church pews and public places.
It was like a horror movie too deranged to script.
In Nigeria, things unfolded slowly. It was difficult to believe that the round-the-clock horror TV stories were real. Then, it began to unfold.
Within two months of Nigeria recording the index victim, any lingering doubts that the virus had not come to play were settled when Abba Kyari, the president’s chief of staff, died from Covid-19 related complications. Today, more than 2,000 deaths have been recorded, out of 166,000 reported — frankly under-reported — infections. At first, the reports were statistics, then they became names, and not too long afterwards, faces of people we knew.
In a gloomy forecast released in April 2020, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said between 300,000 and 3.3 million Africans may die from the coronavirus, under different scenarios. For a continent already beset by poverty and a host of deadly diseases, corona could only compound our misery.
It turned out that ECA overstated its case. There’s no doubt, however, that the virus has made things worse in many ways. Not only in terms of the millions of lives lost or livelihoods ruined, but also in terms of the impact that the virus has had on children, who are among the most vulnerable.
Adults have obviously been the most impacted, because of the nature of the virus. But for almost every adult affected, a child has been at the receiving end of the grief.
For every parent who died, a child has been bereaved. For every teacher who died, a child has lost a shining light. And for every school that was closed during lockdown, millions of children in poor countries without access to the internet were left further behind.
Children have suffered in a way they only know and can tell. According to data by the South African Journal of Science, in July-August 2020, 173 million schools in 156 countries were affected by lockdowns.
That’s not all. The toll in wellbeing has been just as devastating. In Nigeria, for example, babies born at the height of the pandemic could not receive their normal postnatal vaccinations, exposing them to avoidable childhood diseases that could affect them later in life.
Resources that could have been deployed in childcare and support were diverted to emergency use to save an adult population imprisoned by fear, hesitancy, politics and useless conspiracy theories.
And children bear the brunt. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “the global socioeconomic crisis caused by the pandemic could push 142 million more children into financially poor households in developing countries.”
UNICEF estimates that the total number of children living in poverty worldwide could reach 725 million or nearly the entire population of Africa very soon.
We’re still counting the costs. An NGO, the Global Partnership for Education, reported in March that Nigeria’s perennially underfunded education budget took a further cut last year from N568-billion (about $1.5-billion) to N509-billion (roughly $1.34-billion). That is about a 10.4% cut.
When you add the learning crisis and other threats to child survival and health to the mix, you’ll understand why for some children, the impact of the pandemic may be lifelong. But we don’t even know their stories. Or maybe we think we do since the adult population makes a virtue of chewing the microphone, even when children are involved.
|Re: Children’s Stories From Nigeria by uncleiykeman(m): 2:34am On Jun 04, 2021|
It's a pity
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