6 Challenges the Youth is Facing Amidst the Pandemic According to Save the Children PH
As we continue the fight against COVID-19, more and more threats are being posed towards the younger generation. Some of us would assume that we are less vulnerable to the virus, but, as this health problem turns into an encompassing crisis, there are challenges that many of us are facing and suffering from, especially those who are underprivileged and with special needs.
Here, Save the Children Philippines tells us the major concerns that target the Filipino youth in these trying times and how they can be helped.
Disruption of learning
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said children have rights to access education even in times of emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. “We share the concerns of parents and guardians that children must continue learning, but should remain protected from exposure to COVID-19,” he said, as he called for proactive and adaptive preparations of the Department of Education (DepEd), concerned government agencies, and the local government units (LGUs) to ensure children’s learning and well-being amid the quarantine measures.
Save the Children Philippines is supporting DepEd in the implementation of learning continuity program that uses alternative modalities such as modular/paper based learning materials and media-based instruction through TV, radio, online platforms.
Atty. Muyot added that the government should invest on capacity building for parents, caregivers and elder siblings to support children’s learning at home.
Crimes against children
Save the Children Philippines is alarmed that there are already 763 cases of crimes against women and 521 cases of crimes against children recorded by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as of 30 April 2020, since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Primary protection concerns relate to the interruption of children’s safe and appropriate care, through the absence, incapacitation or loss of primary caregivers; exposure to negative coping strategies including violence and exploitation; and the negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of children and their caregivers brought about by a rapidly evolving and uncertain situations.
Dr. Amado Parawan, Health and Nutrition Advisor of Save the Children Philippines said adequate nutrition to prevent stunting and micronutrient deficiency will contribute to strong immunity to illnesses especially during disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine did not only create a situation that posed challenges to the nutrition programs for severely malnourished children as operations of health centers have been disrupted, worse, it has resulted to the inability of families to meet their basic food requirements due to income losses,” said Dr. Parawan.
Vulnerability of children with disabilities
“Children with disabilities continue to face social exclusion, discrimination and the lack of health services and therapy during quarantine which could lead to lifelong and devastating impact in their development,” said Atty. Muyot.
He said local health centers should explore innovative, albeit remote ways, to support families, guardians of children with disabilities to conduct therapy, and provide medicines and psychosocial and counseling support while major cities and municipalities remain under quarantine.
Neglect from family members who have been COVID-19 positive
Atty. Muyot urge local governments to implement concrete and targeted measures to make sure individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 have access to proper health care support, and their children do not suffer from neglect, abandonment, and discrimination.
Local governments should also ensure that children who might be separated from parents or caregivers who are isolated or hospitalized because of COVID-19 or those who might be orphaned will continue to be cared for by trusted adults. It is preferable for these children to be placed in the care of their closest relatives, but in case this may not be immediately possible, alternative care must be provided.