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COVID-19 a harsh reality for SA children: UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says the coronavirus pandemic is a harsh reality for children in South Africa, as  government launches Child Protection Week.

The agency says children are not the face of the pandemic but they risk being among its biggest victims.

This is because children’s lives have been changed in profound ways such as having their rights severely compromised with the disruption of education.

UNICEF South Africa representative, Christine Muhigana, says many caregivers have also lost their livelihoods.

“They’ve lost income and ability to care for their children. Child healthcare services have been affected and food insecurity has led to reports of many children suffering from hunger, ”says Muhigana.

Muhigana says children have been exposed to violence and exploitation even before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even before the pandemic, children have too often been exposed to the horrors of violence, exploitation, abuse at home, in schools, online and in their communities. Breaking this cycle of violence against children has been made much harder by the impact of the virus, in South Africa and around the world,” says Muhigana.

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