World Bank says Nigeria has 4,000 children orphaned by COVID-19 — highest in West Africa

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The World Bank has reported that an estimated 4,000 Nigerian children lost one or both parents between March 2020 and July 2021 due to COVID-19-associated death.

The Bank stated this in its latest blog post co-authored by Laura Rawlings, its Lead Economist and Susan Hillis, a Senior Technical Advisor, CDC COVID-19 International Task Force.

The report, titled, ‘For every two COVID-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. We must do more to address the orphan crisis,’ said the children left behind have been practically invisible.

The report stated that nearly 2 million children have been orphaned since the global pandemic started in 2020.

“By the end of June 2021, because of COVID-19, our estimates show that nearly 2 million children aged under 18 years have lost a mother, father, and/or grandparent caregiver who lived in their household,” the report said.

“The economic, developmental, and psychological impacts on these children will reverberate across generations, a tragic legacy of COVID mortality.

 “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 4 million people, largely concentrated among adults. The children left behind have been practically invisible.”

The Imperial College London’s COVID-19 Orphanhood data dashboard, which was developed for the report showed that 4,600 Nigerian children lost one or both parents, death of custodial grandparents, and/or death of other co-residing grandparents.

Nigeria has the highest number of orphaned children in West Africa. Other West African counties with more than 1,000 orphaned children include Mali (1,000), Ghana(1,500), Cameroon (2,600) and Senegal (2,400).

South Africa currently has the highest number in Africa with 101,700 children orphaned within the period.

The report added that during the pandemic’s first 14 months, over 1 million children experienced the death of primary caregivers, including parents or custodial grandparents.

The report 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).

“In addition, over this same time frame, another half a million lost a grandparent caregiver living in their own home.

“At this rate, one child is orphaned every 12 seconds due to a COVID-19-associated death, and the toll is growing. Our most recent estimates reveal that for every 2 adults that die from COVID-19, 1 child is left without a familial caregiver.”

TNA Niyi-Akinmade

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