AS the world works on fighting the Covid 19 pandemic that has claimed lives and livelihood of many, United Nations Children Fund UNICEF) has called on governments and partners to sustain life-saving maternal, newborn and children health services.
This means continuing to meet urgent needs posed by the virus while carrying forward critical health interventions, like funding for vaccinations, which ensures children’s survival.
A statement by UNICEF on Tuesday said that without urgent action, the current covid 19 crisis risks becoming a child rights crisis.
“Disruptions to society have a heavy impact on children: On their safety, their well-being and their future,” read part of the statement, noting that in the poorest parts of the world, children in need of basic yet essential services–including protection against diseases like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea– are at risk of not receiving them, because as health systems stretch, infants and children will lose their lives to preventable causes.
The organisation also expressed the need on the governments to ensure availability of water, and make sure that sanitation and hygiene reach vulnerable children.
“Protecting ourselves and others through proper hand-washing and hygiene practices has never been more important. But for many children, basic water and hygiene facilities remain out of reach,” read another part of the statement.
UNICEF said some children are cut off from safe water because they live in remote areas, or in places where water is untreated or polluted.
Other children lack access to facilities because they are without a home, living in a slum or on the street.
“UNICEF calls upon governments to prioritise these children. And we are urgently appealing for funding and support so that we can reach more girls and boys with basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities,” they said.
UNICEF is working with health experts around the clock to provide tips and guidance for families on everything, from how to talk to children about COV ID-19, to how to help children wash their hands properly, and advice to teenagers on how to protect their mental health.