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Coronavirus - Nigeria: Child Protection Service Provision and Caring for Children in the Context of the COVID 19 Pandemic

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Download logo

Introduction

This note aims to provide practical guidance to child protection (CP) actors and actors in other sectors to facilitate safe child protection service provision during the COVID-19 pandemic and related control measures in north-east Nigeria. The COVID 19 & Child Protection Resource Folder will regularly be updated with global and local resources, CP tools and guidance notes, IEC and reference materials. Child Protection actors should regularly check https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and https://ncdc.gov.ng/news/237/update-on-covid-19-in-nigeria for timely updates on the pandemic.

The leadership of the State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development in Adamawa and Borno and the State Ministry of Youth, Sports, Social and Community Development in Yobe, in collaboration with other governmental ministries and agencies, remains central to coordinated and effective actions.

COVID 19 and Child Protection Risks

Evidence from previous infectious disease outbreaks suggest that existing child protection risks are exacerbated, and new ones emerge as a result of epidemics and pandemics and related prevention and control measures1. In addition, delayed child protection engagement can result in increased vulnerabilities and long-term harm to children. It is therefore imperative that the protection of children is not afterthought, but is integrated in the preparedness, prevention and response measures.

In north-east Nigeria, the threats and risks by the ongoing conflict may be further exacerbated by the COVID 19 crisis and related control measures. Displaced persons living in IDP camps and host communities may be exposed to congestion, limited access to health, water and sanitation facilities and protection vulnerabilities within households including but not limited to child-headed households, unaccompanied and separated children as well as children living with elderly and other vulnerable caregivers. Children without parental care, either living on the streets or in other institutions may also be at heightened risk.

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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).