COVID-19 orphaned 4,000 Nigerian children in 16 months – World Bank

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Amarachi Orjiude and Sami Olatunji

22 July 2021

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World-Bank


 

Between March 2020 and July 2021, an estimated 4,000 children in Nigeria were orphaned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statistical report released on Tuesday by World Bank experts at the Imperial College of London.


The report also revealed that over 4,100 Nigerian children lost one or both primary caregivers in the same timeframe, while 4,300 lost one or both primary and secondary caregivers.


The World Banks’s Lead Economist, Laura Rawlings, and the Senior Technical Advisor, CDC COVID-19 International Task Force, Susan Hillis, in a different report published on the bank’s blog on Tuesday, stated that for every two people, who died of COVID-19, one child was left orphaned, which brought the global toll of orphaned children to two million at the end of June 2021.


The report was titled, ‘For every two COVID-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. We must do more to address the orphan crisis’.


They said, “The COVID crisis will leave many unwanted legacies. The world has been closely tracking the COVID-19 death toll, with official mortality counts now reaching over four million people, largely concentrated among adults.


“The children left behind have been practically invisible.


“Our estimates of the toll on children left behind, just released, are that for every two people, who die of COVID, one child is left orphaned, facing the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver, who had been living in their home.



 

“By the end of June 2021, because of COVID-19, our estimates show that nearly two million children under 18 years had lost a mother, father, and/or grandparent caregiver, who lived in their household.”


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The World Bank experts listed countries with primary caregiver death rates of at least one per 1,000 children to include Peru (10.2 per 1,000 children), South Africa (5.1), Mexico (3.5), Brazil (2.4), Colombia (2.3), Iran (1.7), the USA (1.5), Argentina (1.1), and Russia (1.0).


They also said at the current rate, one child was being orphaned every 12 seconds due to a COVID-19-associated death, and the toll was growing, adding that the COVID-19- related deaths had a wide range of effects on the children from economic, developmental to psychological impacts, which will reverberate across generations.


“Children orphaned by COVID face a constellation of risks, which often arrive with rapid and broad consequences. The threats of poverty, malnutrition, displacement and separation from siblings or other family members, school dropout, depression, violence and child marriage can emerge suddenly from the Pandora’s box of COVID-19,” they said.


As of July 20, 2021, Nigeria had recorded about 2,128 COVID-19 deaths, which suggested that for every one death in the country, an average of two children become orphans.