Photo From: afro.who.int
Schools are re-opening in many African Nations, after months of the COVI19-imposed lockdown on education.
However, both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling for vigilance to ensure safety of the children while at school.
The agencies are calling not just for the preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus, but also the need to for governments to look into the social problems that affected children during the lockdown.
A WHO survey of 39 countries in sub-Saharan Africa found that schools are fully open in only six countries. They are closed in 14 countries and partially open (exam classes) in 19 others. Around a dozen countries are planning to resume classroom learning in September, which is the start of the academic year in some countries.
In a press statement released on August 20, 2020, the WHO and UNICEF said the impact of extended education disruption has been enormous. It includes among others: poor nutrition, stress, increased exposure to violence and exploitation, childhood pregnancies, and overall challenges in mental development of children due to reduced interaction related to school closures.
“We must not be blind-sided by our efforts to contain COVID-19 and end up with a lost generation,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa