A silent tragedy: 1.5 million children worldwide lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19, says study

As a result of COVID-19, 1.5 million children worldwide have lost a parent, custodial grandparent, or another person who cared for them, according to a collaborative study published in The Lancet.

During the first 14 months of the pandemic, more than 1 million children lost one or both parents, and another half a million children lost a grandmother caregiver living in their own home, according to the report.

Researchers extrapolated findings using COVID-19 mortality data from March 2020 to April 2021, as well as national fertility numbers for 21 nations, to arrive at worldwide estimations.

COVID-19 has resulted in the deaths of 1 million children, 1.1 million children who have lost a parent or custodial grandmother, and more than 1.5 million children who have lost a parent, custodial grandparent, or other secondary familial caregivers.

Children who have lost a parent or caregiver face serious short- and long-term consequences to their health, safety, and well-being, including an increased risk of sickness, physical abuse, sexual violence, and adolescent pregnancy, to name a few.

The researchers call for immediate action in COVID-19 response plans to address the impact of caregiver fatalities on children.

There were an estimated 140 million orphaned children globally before the pandemic.

Mental health issues, familial poverty, and physical, emotional, and sexual assault are all higher dangers for these youngsters.

(With inputs from agencies)

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