FAQs

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked unprecedented havoc on children, families and communities around the globe, disrupting vital services and putting millions of lives at risk.

World Vision's Aftershock reports review the devastating secondary impacts of the COVID-19 virus on children's health and wellbeing.
  • Secondary impacts threaten more children's lives than the disease itself. Based on evidence from the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, millions of girls and boys in the world’s poorest and most fragile places are facing disastrous “secondary” impacts from the pandemic that will put their lives and their futures at risk. Download the full report: Aftershocks 1 - The Secondary Impacts. 
  • Millions more children are at risk of violence under lockdown and into the 'new normal'. A major spike in the cases of children experiencing physical, emotional and sexual violence, is predicted both now and in the months and years to come. Download the full report: Aftershocks 2 - A Perfect Storm. 
  • As families' incomes plummet, millions more children go hungry and are forced to work and beg. Without immediate action to protect people’s livelihoods now, the impact of this pandemic will reverse progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, and irreparably damage the lives of generations of children. Download the full report: Aftershocks 3 - Out of Time.


 
The spread of COVID-19 is likely to have a huge impact on the poorest, and global efforts to defeat poverty.

As countries and communities respond to the virus by closing schools and places of work and imposing quarantines, along with people limiting public interaction, it is children and the very poor who will be greatly impacted. Any loss of work for those who survive on minimal earnings will have a devastating impact on household incomes where people survive from day to day. The price of food and goods is also likely to rise as shortages emerge and people begin to hoard supplies. The very poorest won’t be able to stock up in the same way and the loss of earnings will make it very hard for them to feed their children. The situation could go on for weeks or months. 

The impact of the virus will make it more difficult for the world to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 which has as its target that less than 3 percent of the world people would be living in extreme poverty by 2030.
Countries with weak healthcare systems or with large numbers of displaced people are most at risk from COVID-19 and need support from the international community with funding and healthcare expertise. 

Without support from countries with robust healthcare systems and resources, the world’s poorest people will remain at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and outbreaks may prove especially devastating. Without that support, the disease will also be more likely to spread to more and more places. 

The COVID-19 mortality rate is likely to be higher in countries where there is a lack of hospitals and health centres and where healthcare facilities are poorly equipped with diagnostic kits, isolation facilities and intensive care and respiratory equipment. 

While higher-income countries have anywhere between 2 and 12 hospital beds per 1,000 population, in the poorest countries, there may be 1 bed per 10,000 people or less. 

The COVID-19 mortality rate is also higher among patients with pre-existing health conditions. The prevalence of TB, pneumonia, malaria, HIV and AIDS in lower-income countries and high rates of malnutrition are cause for deep concern. In addition, in many countries, medical treatment is not free. The poorest will struggle to pay for healthcare which is then likely to be refused.
 
In the developing world, there are high numbers of refugees, displaced people, and people on the move who are especially vulnerable to the virus. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugee population with over 18 million people in this region declared to be people of concern to UNHCR (UN refugee agency). Countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia host very large settlements or camps of displaced people fleeing conflict and poverty. These emergencies include the Syrian conflict, displacements from South Sudan and within DR Congo, the Rohingya crisis and the Venezuela migration crisis. These populations are often living in unhygienic and overcrowded camps and settlements with limited access to medical care. Populations caught up in conflict are also on the move and difficult to reach or monitor for the virus. The risk of the virus spreading, if it gets into these vulnerable populations is very high and more robust interventions are required to help prevent this from happening. 
Climate change refers to any significant change in the state of the climate that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading scientific forum for climate analysis, tells us that planet earth is currently warming in a historically unprecedented manner. Global temperatures have risen by 0.85 degrees Celsius between 1880 and 2012 and the global amounts of snow and ice have drastically diminished. While there are multiple complex drivers, the IPCC suggests that these changes can be mainly attributed to excessive levels of human-induced greenhouse gas emission, particularly the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and the destruction of forests. Greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and, like a blanket, warm the surface of the earth. They are now at their highest levels in history. 

Evidence of climate change is seen in increased global average temperatures, rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms and melting ice sheets and glaciers.