More than 1.5 million children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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According to a study published today, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million children worldwide have lost at least one of the parents, grandparents or grandparents who lived with them due to COVID-19-related death during the early 14 months of the pandemic. inside The Lancet. The study highlights orphanhood as an urgent and ignored consequence of the pandemic and stresses that providing evidence-based psychosocial and financial support to children who have lost a caregiver should be a key part of responding to the pandemic. .

The analysis used mortality and fertility data to model COVID-19-associated orphan rates ( of one or both ) and the deaths of custodial grandparents and co-presidents (aged 60 to 84) from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 in 21 countries. This study was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

In the document, “deaths associated with COVID-19” referred to the combination of deaths caused directly by COVID-19 and those caused indirectly by other associated causes, such as blockages, meeting and movement restrictions, decreased access, or acceptability. of health care and the treatment of chronic diseases.

Traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a parent , are associated with increases in , mental health conditions and other chronic and behavioral health conditions. NIDA supports research aimed at understanding the impact of trauma on young people, preventing substance use after experiencing difficulties, and addressing substance use in traumatic populations.

“Studies like this play a crucial role in shedding light on the lasting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for families and the mental health and well-being of the future around the world, “said NIDA director Nora D. Volkow, MD.” While the trauma a child experiences after the loss of a parent or caregiver can be devastating, there are evidence-based interventions that can prevent adverse consequences, such as substance use. , and we need to ensure that children have access to these interventions. “

To estimate pandemic-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths, the study used COVID-19 mortality and excess data from 21 countries that accounted for 77% of global COVID-19 deaths during 2020 and early 2021. These include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, England. and Wales, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, the United States and Zimbabwe.

The authors estimate that 1,134,000 children lost a custodial parent or grandfather due to the death associated with COVID-19. Of these, 1,042,000 children were orphaned by mother, father, or both; most lost one, not both parents. Overall, an estimated 1,562,000 children have experienced the death of at least one parent or custodial grandfather or other co-resident grandfather (or other older relative).

Countries with the highest number of children who lost their primary caregivers (parents or grandparents) included South Africa, Peru, the United States, India, Brazil, and Mexico. Countries with COVID-19-associated death rates among primary caregivers (> 1/1000 children) included Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, the United States, Argentina, and Russia.

The study found that for all countries, deaths associated with COVID-19 were higher in men than in women, especially in middle and older ages. Overall, there were up to five times more children who lost a father than those who lost a mother.

“We know from our research that the loss of a parent or caregiver can alter children’s lives and potentially affect their development if they are not in a stable family environment. If we consider variants of concern or possible severity of the disease among young people, we must not forget that the pandemic continues to pose a threat to parents and caregivers — and to their children, ”said Chuck A. Nelson, III, Ph.D., author of the study, Boston Children’s Hospital.

Although research on the science of substance use and addiction remains the main focus of NIDA’s work, NIDA supports research on COVID-19 and has issued more than $ 15 million for projects related to NIDA. COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic that could take advantage of current infrastructure, projects or knowledge and scientific resources.


The health impacts of the blockades are no worse than the big outbreaks of COVID, at least in the short term


More information:
S Hillis, et al. Overall minimum estimates of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths, The Lancet (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (21) 01253-8 , www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (21) 01253-8 / full text

Citation: More than 1.5 million children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic (2021, July 20) recovered on July 20, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021 -07-15m-children-lost- primary-secondary.html

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