The pandemic has affected the lives of Brazilian infants and children: poverty, malnutrition, lack of health and education, in addition to the loss of parents or guardians due to Covid-19. Faced with the health and economic crisis, children even stopped being vaccinated, thus keeping to the schedule planned for their childhood and becoming vulnerable to various diseases. The information is part of Epicovid-19, a survey conducted by the Federal Pelotas University (UFPel) in partnership with Ibope.
Unpublished data from Epicovid-19, the largest epidemiological study of the disease conducted in Brazil, are presented today (6) at the IX International Symposium on Early Childhood Development organized by Núcleo Ciência pela Infância (NCPI). The epidemic has had both indirect and direct effects on the lives of children. By September of this year, 867 children up to the age of 4 and 194 children aged 5-9 years had died in Brazil due to covid-19. The study also shows that 273 adolescents aged 10 to 14 and 808 adolescents aged 15 to 19 were also victims of the disease.
“Broadly speaking, it is used in public policy to combat poverty, in intellectual promotion, in medical aid – for example, in lost vaccines – in education, etc. we have to think. Potentially effective programs like Criança Feliz need to be revived, as the pandemic has significantly impacted the frequency of home visits to foster interaction between children and their families, said Cesar Victora, professor emeritus of Epidemiology and Epicovid coordinator at UFPel.
According to Victora, both covid and other infectious diseases in young children are of greater concern as they “have an immature immune system and die more often from pneumonia, diarrhea and many other infections than older children.”
According to the survey, children also stopped being vaccinated. During the pandemic, 22.7% of the poorest children were not vaccinated. Among the richest, the index is 15%. The biggest impact is that children who are already weakened by malnutrition resulting from increased poverty are more susceptible to other infectious diseases that can be prevented by vaccination,” says the study coordinator.
The researcher advocates paying special attention to childhood and the strengthening of public policies: “Investing in early childhood and minimizing the effects of the pandemic is crucial to ensure not only the health of future generations, but also the human capital that will ensure the development of our country. . in the next decades”.
Nationally, the Happy Child Program is one of the main initiatives for children. The program serves families with children between the ages of zero and 6 years. Criança Feliz teams make home visits to families participating in Cadastro Único, monitoring and guiding their development.
Victora also presents data from interviews with participants in the Criança Feliz program showing that 11% of children were no longer vaccinated in September 2020. By January 2021, the rate had dropped to 10%. Also, 6% of pregnant women missed prenatal consultations in September 2020. In January, this rate increased to 10%.
Ministry of Citizenship
In the statement made by the Ministry of Citizenship, it was stated that remote service was allowed due to the need for social isolation and that the visitors of Criança Feliz began to develop events via video calls and to transmit the content to parents and guardians via digital platforms.
“Families that have difficulties in accessing technology were interviewed face-to-face, following all safety protocols. As a result, the activities were delivered to the beneficiaries’ doorsteps and then collected. In addition to addressing issues related to early childhood, the visits also included information and guidance to combat covid-19. took it”.
In 2020, the program hit a record 1.1 million, with 26,000 visitors across the country, according to the ministry. 40 million visits were made during the year. In August of this year, it crossed the 50 million visit limit and is home to more than 1.2 million Brazilians.