Published: 21st July 2021
1,19,000 Indian children lost caregivers to COVID-19 just in the first 14 months of the pandemic, according to The Lancet study
The study stated that 25,500 children in India lost their mother to COVID-19 while 90,751 lost their father and 12 lost both their parents
More than 10 lakh children in 21 countries, including 1,19,000 from India, lost their primary and secondary caregivers to COVID-19 during the first 14 months of the pandemic, according to a study published in The Lancet.
The study stated that 25,500 children in India lost their mother to COVID-19 while 90,751 lost their father and 12 lost both their parents. Some part of the study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), under the United States' National Institutes of Health (NIH), it estimates that 11,34,000 children globally lost a parent or custodial grandparent due to COVID-19. Of these, 10,42,000 children lost their mother, father or both.
"Though the trauma a child experiences after the loss of a parent or caregiver can be devastating, there are evidence-based interventions that can prevent further adverse consequences, such as substance use, and we must ensure that children have access to these interventions," said NIDA Director Nora D Volkow.
Most lost one, not both parents. Overall, 15,62,000 children are estimated to have experienced the death of at least one parent or a custodial or other co-residing grandparent, or any other older relative, the NIH said in a media release. The countries with the highest number of children who lost primary caregivers (parents or custodial grandparents) include South Africa, Peru, United States, India, Brazil, and Mexico, it said.
The countries with rates of COVID-associated deaths among primary caregivers (>1/1000 children) include Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, United States, Argentina, and Russia, it added.
According to the report, 2,898 Indian children lost either of their custodial grandparents while nine lost both of their custodial grandparents. However, the 0. 5 rate of loss of primary and custodial parents per 1,000 children in India is much less than in other countries like South Africa (6.4), Peru (14.1), Brazil (3.5), Colombia (3.4), Mexico (5.1), Russia (2.0), and the US (1.8).
"When examining how variations by sex and age in deaths and average numbers of children influenced estimates of paternal versus maternal orphans, we found that, with the exception of South Africa, deaths were greater in men than women in every country, particularly in middle-aged and older parents," the report said.