Describing the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest global crisis for children since World War Two, Unicef has warned six thousand children could die daily. Weakening national health systems and disrupting vital services, the global pandemic has left the lives of countless children already affected. Places where health infrastructure is damaged, or where it is already heavily burdened, could find themselves pushed over the edge by coronavirus outbreaks. Unicef has given the stark warning alongside an example of a country on the precipice. Ravaged by war, poverty and famine, Yemen’s health service is far from equipped to cope with the implications of the coronavirus outbreak. Where only one in three people have access to running water, vital products such as soap are in short supply. According to latest research from Unicef, 1.2 million children could die over the next six months, due to services being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. With the pandemic placing hitherto unforeseen strain on health systems, the research revealed it “threatens to reverse almost a decade of progress on ending preventable child deaths.” Unicef UK’s Executive Director Sacha Deshmukh also added, “Children’s lives are being upended across the globe – their support systems ripped away, their borders closed, their educations lost, their food supply cut off. Even in the UK, children face the threat of a measles outbreak and school closures are putting vulnerable children at increased risk.”
Working alongside governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef has been working to help limit the spread of the virus, support keyworkers and help protect vulnerable children and families. At the top of the list, protective equipment, such as gloves, has been provided across various locations, alongside medical supplies. For vulnerable communities, plans to support their health care have also been enacted. As a fundamental step in limiting the spread of coronavirus, the provision of soap and clean water facilities remains at the top of Unicef’s list. Also, the organisation has initiated handwashing and personal hygiene campaigns to help vulnerable communities to protect themselves.