According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), COVID-19-related lockdown has forced over 1.6 billion children out of school.
This was revealed in a study released to commemorate the agency’s 75th anniversary, which stated that during the first year of the pandemic, schools were shuttered for about 80% of in-person education around the world.
The epidemic was recognized as one of UNICEF’s largest disasters since its foundation in a report titled ‘COVID-19 ‘biggest worldwide problem for children in our 75-year history’ — UNICEF.’
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said, “Throughout our history, UNICEF has helped to shape healthier and safer environments for children across the globe, with great results for millions.
“These gains are now at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest threat to progress for children in our 75-year history.
“While the number of children who are hungry, out of school, abused, living in poverty or forced into marriage is going up, the number of children with access to health care, vaccines, sufficient food, and essential services is going down. In a year in which we should be looking forward, we are going backward.”
Mental health issues afflicted more than 13% of teenagers aged 10 to 19 worldwide, according to the survey. By October 2020, the pandemic would have interrupted or stopped key mental health services in 93% of countries around the planet.
UNICEF responded to the report by calling for increased investment in social protection, excellent education for all children, crisis protection for children, and an end to the pandemic.