LGUs urged: Protect, ensure safety of children whose parents have COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines – A child advocacy group has asked local government units (LGUs) to monitor the situation of children whose parents have contracted the latest coronavirus strain, and ensure that there are designated adults to take care of and protect them.
Lawyer Alberto Muyot, head of Save the Children, said on Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic not only puts adults at risk but also the patients’ children who might be left on their own amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) all over Luzon.
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses major risks to children and their families such as disruption of routine immunization, antenatal care services, therapy sessions for children with disabilities, and other necessary health interventions,” Muyot said.
“The health crisis may also lead children to risks of neglect, abandonment, violence, and exploitation through a loss of or separation from primary caregivers,” he added.
According to the group, LGUs should also explore the possibility that children be provided alternative care in case their closest relatives cannot take care of them.
But aside from these, Save the Children is also asking local governments to protect children and other family members from possible discrimination after their relatives have been found infected with the coronavirus.
The group mentioned recent reports where a health worker in Sultan Kudarat was splashed with bleach by his neighbors and the case of nurses in Cebu City who were barred from entering their condominium units.
“Discrimination and stigma within the communities against people who are tested COVID-19 positive need to be addressed by the government through a sustained public information campaign to provide accurate information on COVID-19 and practical steps to protect themselves from getting infected,” Muyot said.
“We call on local leaders to provide child-friendly, gender- and disability-sensitive information to help children know how they can protect themselves from getting infected by COVID-19, be protected from abuse and exploitation, and where to report and seek help,” he added.
The Department of Health said on Thursday that there are already 5,660 COVID-19 patients, 362 of which have died while at least 435 recovered from the disease. Worldwide, over 2.06 million individuals have been infected, while 134,216 have died from the disease and 513,820 have recovered from it.
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