Over 1.5 million children lost caregivers to COVID-19 worldwide: Report
Over 1.5 million children in 21 countries, including 1,19,000 from India, lost their primary and secondary caregivers to COVID-19 during the pandemic's first 14 months, according to a study in The Lancet. The study funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NID) stated that 25,500 children in India lost their mother to COVID-19.
Most lost one, not both parents: Study
In addition, 90,751 lost their father and 12 lost both their parents. The study estimates that 11,34,000 children lost a parent/custodial grandparent. Of these, 10,42,000 children lost their mother, father, or both. Most lost one, not both parents. Overall, 15,62,000 children are estimated to have experienced the death of at least one parent or custodial or other co-residing grandparents, the NIH said.
SA, Peru, US, India lost highest number of primary caregivers
The countries with the highest number of children who lost primary caregivers (parents or custodial grandparents) include South Africa, Peru, United States, India, Brazil, and Mexico, it said. The countries with rates of COVID-19-associated deaths among primary caregivers (>1/1000 children) include Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, United States, Argentina, and Russia, it added.
Around 2,900 Indian children lost either of their custodial grandparents
"Though the trauma a child experiences after the loss of a parent or caregiver can be devastating, there are evidence-based interventions that can prevent further adverse consequences, such as substance use, and we must ensure children have access to these interventions," said NIDA Director Nora D Volkow. As per the report, 2,898 Indian children lost either of their custodial grandparents while nine lost both.
Rate of loss of primary parents per 1,000 children
However, the 0.5 rate of loss of primary and custodial parents per 1,000 children in India is much less than in other countries like South Africa (6.4), Peru (14.1), Brazil (3.5), Colombia (3.4), Mexico (5.1), Russia (2.0), and the US (1.8).
Except SA, deaths were greater in men than women: Report
When examining how variations by sex and age in deaths and average numbers of children influenced estimates of paternal versus maternal orphans, we found that, with the exception of South Africa, deaths were greater in men than women in every country, the report said. The report also said that the deaths were greater in men particularly in middle-aged and older parents.