Press Trust of india

Nearly 50% parents with kids below 5 yrs not able to access immunisation during lockdown, says CRY

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New Delhi: Nearly 50 per cent of parents of children below five years of age have not been able to access immunisation services during the nationwide lockdown imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, says child rights NGO CRY.

The online perception study conducted by Child Rights and You (CRY) in 22 states and Union Territories of the country also talked about the multiple effects of the pandemic on children.

The survey was conducted during the first and second phase of lockdown. It is based on responses of about 1,100 parents and primary caregivers from across the country.

According to the study, access to immunisation suffered a huge setback across all regions of the country and a whopping 63 per cent of the surveyed households in northern states reported lack of access to immunisation services.

Only around half (51 per cent ) of the parents who had children below five years of age were able to access immunisation services during the lockdown, the survey said.

“One in every four (27 per cent) of the respondents reported non-accessibility of regular healthcare services for children during the lockdown -most reported from the North (31 per cent) followed by the South (21 per cent). In other regions, lack of access to regular healthcare facilities was experienced by less than 20 per cent of parents,” it said.

Even though children have not been the face of this pandemic as they have largely been spared of the direct health effects of COVID-19 so far, findings of the study indicate that they have been among its biggest victims with multiple side-effects on their physical and psycho-social well-being. If access to basic healthcare for children was at bay, their access to education was affected equally during the lockdown days, the survey said.

Three in every four (77 per cent) of the respondents have reported that the lockdown has affected education and learning. This was again the highest in the North (87 per cent) and least in the West (56 per cent), it said.

While 60 per cent of the parents/primary caregivers pointed out that among the regular activities for children affected were their extra-curricular opportunities; 60 per cent believed that children’s friendships and social lives were affected; and almost an equal section (59 per cent) perceived that their outdoor games and recreational opportunities were majorly compromised, the survey found.

More importantly, according to 37 per cent of the respondents, children’s psychological well-being and happiness have definitely been affected during this phase. This was most reported from the eastern states (51 per cent), the survey said.

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