Save the Children has urged families to maintain efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as the country marks one year of the pandemic.
Save the Children Campaigns and Communications Manager Malama Mwila said despite not being immune to the virus, children can play a key role in helping to reduce transmission.
In general, infectious diseases spread more quickly amongst children who may be more tactile and less able to understand instructions about hygiene and sanitation,Mr. Mwila said.
Mr. Mwila added that the social burden of the Coronavirus pandemic may result in some children not returning to school.
The evidence from our Rapid Gender Analysis shows that impacts of COVID-19 not only extend beyond health and interference to education but carry other risks to marginalized children,Mr. Mwila said.
As pressures mount on low income families, children have been forced to work to bolster family incomes. Girls especially, face a disproportionate burden of caring for family members who contract the virus or taking care of younger children while others may be married off. If plans are not put in place urgently, some children run the risk of never returning to school at all.
Mr. Mwila has since called on government and donors to invest in health services, school infrastructure, social safety nets and community-based strategies to ensure that children and their families have the income, support and information they need.
He noted that rural areas suffer the worst impact as they lack infrastructure, essential equipment and electricity.
Mr. Mwila added that the investment in oxygen supplies is desperately needed not just for COVID-19 but for the treatment of pneumonia, hypertension, asphyxia, sepsis and other conditions.
Zambia has the second highest number of confirmed cases in the region, currently standing at 85, 502 cumulative cases of COVID-19.