By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
In the face of the challenges posed by coronavirus, Save the Children International (SCI), said it has launched an appeal to raise an initial 30 million dollars in the coming months to support children and their families in affected countries on the African continent and across the globe.
“With the funds, Save the Children aims to strengthen its programmes that protect children in countries that are hit by the virus, increase support for national health systems and raise awareness among parents and caregivers on how to provide mental support to children. The funds will also be used to support children who have lost parents.”
It further called on the international community to increase their funding to support national governments efforts in their response to the virus and save children lives.
It said African governments have already responded to the Covid-19 outbreak over the past few months in several ways, including curfews, flight bans, lockdowns and major public awareness and sanitation campaigns.
However, given the rapid rise in confirmed cases across the continent, Save the Children believes that more needs to be done to prevent a larger outbreak.
It aid that there are 2,412 confirmed cases of coronavirus across 43 countries in Africa.
It said the pandemic increased with more than 500 per cent since 17 March, with only nine countries without a confirmed case.
“South Africa has the most confirmed cases of Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Burkina Faso, raising concerns the virus could overwhelm the health system if infection rates continue to rise.
“If the virus continues to spread at this rate, the lives of thousands of children could be at risk”.
The international children organization said a spike in Covid-19 cases could risk disrupting nutrition, immunisation and other health services for children if facilities become overstretched, health workers fall ill or families might stay away because of fears of contacting the virus.
“This would impact efforts aimed at saving children from acute malnutrition and diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. In addition to this, as markets close and restrictions to movement are put into place, households will have less income to meet their basic needs.”