WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Number of children orphaned or left unaccompanied by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rising fast: UNICEF
The number of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who have been orphaned or left unaccompanied due to the Ebola epidemic has more than doubled since April, requiring a rapid ramp-up of specialized care in the Ebola-hit provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.
UNICEF and partners have registered 1,380 orphans, meaning children who have lost one or both parents to Ebola, since the start of the outbreak just over a year ago.
In this same period, 2,469 children have been separated from their parents or caregivers — either left alone while adults undergo screening and treatment, or isolated because they’ve been in contact with someone infected.
“This disease has been especially harrowing for children,” says Pierre Ferry, UNICEF’s head of child protection programmes in the DRC. “Children are watching parents die in front of them or seeing loved ones taken to Ebola treatment centers, uncertain of when or if they will return. They are struggling with grief and anxiety, while having to comfort and care for younger siblings. Many face discrimination, stigmatization and isolation.”
UNICEF is working closely with partners and communities to rapidly identify affected children and tailor support to address their extensive physical, psychological and social needs.
To date, UNICEF has trained 906 psychosocial assistants and psychologists who provide a range of individualized assistance for orphaned and separated children.
“Coming from the affected communities, psychosocial workers are among the most trusted actors in the response,” says Ferry. “As a result, they’ve been able to reduce harmful discrimination and misinformation and boost community acceptance and engagement, which is crucial to stopping the outbreak.”
For unaccompanied children, psychosocial teams provide dedicated care that includes food, psychological support and material assistance. UNICEF runs three nurseries next to Ebola treatment centers in the epidemic’s hotspots, where Ebola survivors, who are immune to the disease, care for and closely monitor infants and very young children until their parents or caregivers have completed treatment.
For children with no surviving parents, the needs are longer-term. Psychosocial assistants work to place children with nurturing relatives or foster families — no easy task given the economic burden of raising extra children and the pervasive fear of catching the disease or being associated with it. It often requires delicate mediation as well as financial support for food, school fees and other basic necessities. The nature of the support is determined by the most pressing needs of each child or family.
All the children require psychosocial assistance to mitigate the debilitating effects of loss, stigma and isolation, which is why UNICEF is working to quickly scale up child protection programs in Ebola-affected areas.
“The number of children orphaned to Ebola or left unaccompanied is growing as fast as the outbreak itself,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in the DRC. “Care, specialized assistance and resources for these vulnerable children must keep pace.”
For more information, please contact:
- Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, email@example.com
- Morwenna Darby, 0207 375 6124, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK.
For more information please visit unicef.org.uk
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Government's £750m funding boost for charities backed by NHS Confederation09/04/2020 13:40:00
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, responded to yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing
Unicef resources available to media reporting on the Coronavirus09/04/2020 12:40:00
In countries with ongoing humanitarian situations, the pandemic has added yet another layer of vulnerability.
Coronavirus: LGA responds to new waste service guidance09/04/2020 11:40:00
Cllr David Renard, Environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, responded to updated government guidance on waste services to councils amid the coronavirus crisis
Let us know what is happening in your workplace...09/04/2020 11:05:00
As part of our work on supporting unions, members and workers through the coronavirus pandemic, we are keen to hear more about what is happening in workplaces across the region.
CIPD - Two-thirds of employers say supporting staff mental health and well-being is one of their main challenges during coronavirus crisis09/04/2020 10:40:00
The CIPD and People Management magazine release further findings from their joint survey, looking at how employers are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic
NHS Confederation - NHS England and NHS Improvement launches wellbeing support for health staff09/04/2020 09:40:00
The NHS has launched a package of wellbeing measures as part of a bid to support the health service’s 1.4 million staff as they work to tackle the coronavirus.
TUC calls for global response to unemployment during coronavirus outbreak08/04/2020 14:05:00
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady yesterday responded to a report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which predicts the equivalent of 195 million full-time job losses globally in the next 3 months.
CBI respond to new Labour leader07/04/2020 15:20:00
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General recently (04 April 2020) respond to new Labour leader.
Scottish business community calls for clarity, consistency and cooperation in COVID-19 response07/04/2020 14:38:00
Scotland’s leading business organisations have issued a joint-statement in response to the private sector’s role in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
Coronavirus: LGA responds to food voucher extension to cover Easter holidays07/04/2020 13:40:00
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, responded to the Government’s announcement that food vouchers made available to schools and families of children entitled to free school meals are being extended to cover the Easter holidays