Vulnerable children are among the most heavily impacted by COVID-19

Save the Children Australia warns that the coronavirus pandemic threatens to devastate children’s access to health care and education.

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As the world continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, concerns grow over the spread of the virus in countries that are unable to manage an outbreak due to weaker health care systems and economic instability.

Save the Children Australia is hoping to raise US$100 million in an effort to keep children and their families safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the initial stages of the outbreak, Save the Children has been responding to the most severely impacted countries, including in China and the US. The virus has accelerated across lower income countries such as Africa, with new cases estimated to reach over 10,000 just this week.

Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International, says that the coronavirus is now spreading among the world’s most vulnerable countries, where children are already missing out on life saving treatment for conditions like malnutrition, malaria and pneumonia.

Ashing also warns that the outbreak will leave many children out of school without care, and in danger.

With the support of the community, Save the Children aims to strengthen its existing programmes to withstand the impact of the outbreak and protect vulnerable children in countries that have been hit the hardest. This includes children living in poverty, displaced families, refugees and communities in conflict or crisis.

The programme involves increasing support for national health systems, assisting families financially and ensuring children continue to access education.

Currently, an estimated 1.5 billion children are not at school and their chances of returning are diminishing every single day. In many of the world’s poorest communities, children may be forced into work while girls are more likely to be forced into marriage against their will. Meanwhile, children who are in domestic abuse situations now face longer periods at home, with no access to vital support services.

Unfortunately, families in these communities may not have access to clean water or health services and may also face barriers in language and literacy. It is important for the right support and information to be available to them because children in marginalised communities are instrumental in reducing the rate of transmission around the world.

Globally, Save the Children works with over 500,000 community health workers across 44 countries to deliver vital health services – all are now trained to recognise symptoms of COVID-19 and react accordingly. The charity will work with local communities to deliver more training and equipment so that cases can be identified early, treated and isolated where possible.

You can visit savethechildren.org.au to learn more about their COVID-19 emergency appeal.

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