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Global Childcare Crisis In The Time Of Pandemic

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Covid-19

The pandemic of Covid-19 has so far killed 4.55 million people with 219 million total cases till now. This is a huge number when it comes to a global crisis of this sort which is unprecedented in the modern history. This deadly virus not only halted the world affairs in every walk of life, but it also created a lifelong trauma and dependency on millions who lost their loved ones. In particular, the children have been indirectly hit by the pandemic with a sense that thousands have been orphaned or left helpless where the major house caregivers have died due to the virus. Thus, a looming global childcare crisis is what the world needs to focus right now along with climate change and the similar grave global issues.

Children require emotional and financial stability at home to properly grow both mentally and physically. When one kind of stability is missing or a sense of uncertainty looms in the environment, children develop unconscious fears and personality issues. However, a sudden, shocking and painful event in life like the death of the caregiver can trigger lifelong mental and emotional discrepancies, let alone the physical and financial assistance for the basic needs.

As we know, a year of the deadly pandemic has destroyed thousands of homes where one or more than one family member has died. The emotional trauma, however, has been far greater than on the children in such families as they have been helplessly witnessing the pain and loss of their caregivers. Many families where fathers have died have put a double burden on the mothers to take care of the house and the children as well. Grief-stricken themselves, the mothers are coping with difficulty which is ultimately affecting the children. 

It is a global economic crisis in disguise

According to the World Bank sources, a lot of single parents, whose partners died due to the pandemic, have been asking for sick leaves as their children are left alone at home. These leaves are increasing in number in almost all sectors. A lot of remote jobs have also been disrupted due to the constant interruption by the children at home. A lot of parents, especially mothers, have either quit their jobs or are doing double shifts to maintain the finances. Both extremes create an imbalanced social and personal life for the parents and the children.

Besides, the uncared children are prone to health issues, lack of education opportunities, and criminal behavior amid the rising poverty, especially in third-world countries. 

What can the governments do?

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To control these consequences, governments can bring in some policy changes in the workplace and the overall economic and social set up in their respective countries. For instance:

  • Enable home-based work or remote jobs where possible.
  • Childcare facilities can be extended to the employees’ children with full coverage of expenses, especially the employees in the health and pharmaceutical sector. 
  • Financial aid can be given to the children’s education and other basic needs.
  • Flexible working hours and shifts can be accommodated instead of firing the struggling single parents.
  • In cases of school/daycare issues, single parents should be allowed paid leave.
  • Mental support workshops can be conducted at workplaces to encourage struggling parents and individuals.

According to the UNICEF data, the global socio-economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic can further increase poverty and ultimately, a global childcare crisis. Almost 142 million children are directly vulnerable to such a crisis. This number can surprisingly reach up to 525 million in just a few years if the situation continues. Therefore, mitigating policies and government interference is highly needed to curb this growing issue.

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