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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. “Children in particular were affected negatively by Covid-19". Considering this statement, discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children, with an emphasis on their health, education, and mental and physical well-being. (250 words)

    19 Dec, 2022 GS Paper 1 Indian Society

    Approach

    • Start your answer by briefly describing the effect of covid-19 on children.
    • Discuss various impacts of pandemic posed on children,
    • Discuss factors that need to be taken to take care of overall well-being of children.
    • Conclude accordingly.

    Introduction

    • Covid-19 was the devastating pandemic occurred in a century and impacted people across the globe, different groups experience the virus and related restrictions differently. But it had the most negative impact on children.

    Body

    • Impact of Pandemic on Children:
      • Education: Children and adolescents of all ages and in all countries are seriously suffering from the consequences of the pandemic. Covid-19 related measures are having a profound effect on their health and well-being and for some the impact will be lifelong.
        • For example, Covid-19 has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion students in more than 190 countries.
      • Health: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the Covid-19 pandemic, 90% of countries report disruptions to essential health services since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
        • The most frequently disrupted areas reported include services essential for children, such as routine immunization – including 70% of outreach services and 61% of facility-based services.
        • Malnourishment: Even today, more vulnerable children are becoming malnourished due to the deteriorating quality of their diets and the multiple shocks created by the pandemic and its containment measures.
        • Further, efforts to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19 are disrupting food systems, upending health and nutrition services, devastating livelihoods, and threatening food security.
      • Mental Well-Being: It is not unusual for children to experience negative emotions such as fear, disappointment, sadness, anxiety, anger, loss etc. But it is the prolonged, restrictive, and widespread nature of the Covid-19 pandemic that has exacerbated the situation.
        • Increased screen time, strained family relations or sedentary lifestyle at home pose additional challenges to the mental health of children.
        • However, some children are at greater risk of developing intense reactions, including severe anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Any pre-existing mental health problem, past traumatic experiences or abuse, family instability, or losing a loved one can make children highly vulnerable to developing severe mental health conditions.
      • Expose to Violence: Lockdowns measures exposed children to a range of risks. Several factors related to confinement measures resulted in heightened tensions in the household, added stress placed on caregivers, economic uncertainty, job loss or disruption to livelihoods, and social isolation.
    • Factors that need to be taken for the overall well-being of children:
      • Need good public education and make it more easily accessible by removing all barriers.
      • The government needs to bridge digital divide as vulnerable students living in rural areas or who are financially weak were lacking behind their peers who have access to digital tools and internet during pandemic.
      • Further, there is need to provide adequate social protection to the family of underprivilege section of the society, so that their overall wellbeing is taken care during harsh time.
      • The government need to make investment in various child protection schemes to provide better education, health and social benefits to the children in need.
    • Initiatives taken by Government:
      • Rehabilitation through education in special training centers.
      • Child helpline like CHILDLINE 1098, which provides free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance and managed & monitored by ChildLine India foundation.

    Conclusion

    There is a need to ameliorate children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services geared towards providing measures for developing healthy coping mechanisms during the current crisis. For this innovative child and adolescent mental health policies with direct and digital collaborative networks of psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, and community volunteers are deemed necessary.

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