Pandemic claimed 119,000 Indian kids’ caregivers in first 14 months: report
Representational Image (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
MORE than 1.5 million children in 21 countries, including 119,000 from India, lost their primary and secondary caregivers to the Covid-19 disease during the first 14 months of the pandemic, a study published by medical journal The Lancet has said.
The study, funded in part by the USA’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said that 25,500 children in India lost their mother to the disease while 90,751 lost their father. Twelve lost both their parents.
According to the study, 113,400 kids lost a parent or custodial grandparent because of the pandemic. Of these, 104,200 lost their mother, father or both. Overall, 156,200 children are estimated to have seen the death of at least one parent or custodial or other co-residing grandparent (or other older relative), the NIH said in a press release.
Besides India, the other nations that saw the highest number of children who lost primary caregivers (parents or custodial grandparents) are South Africa, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the US, the release said. The countries with rates of Covid-related deaths among primary caregivers (>1/1000 children) are Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, Iran, the US, Argentina and Russia, it said.
“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 that children have access to these interventions,” said NIDA director Nora D Volkow.
According to the report, 2,898 Indian children lost either of their custodial grandparents while nine lost both of their custodial grandparents. However, the 0.5 rate of loss of primary and custodial parents per 1,000 children in India is much less than 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). “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, particularly in middle-aged and older parents,” the report said.