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Save the Children International
Kenya reported the first coronavirus case March 13th and since then the numbers have continued to increase mainly in the capital and the coastal towns of Mombasa and Kilifi, as well as in other parts of the country. The effects of the virus on every sector of the economy are dire and a World Bank report projects Kenya’s economic growth in 2020 at an estimated 1.5% compared to the 2019 estimate of 5.6%, because of COVID-19. Women and youth bear the largest impact especially because most of them are in vulnerable employment in the informal sectors, which has been hardest hit by the measures that government has proposed to try to curb the spread of the virus, and in turn, children are affected. This means that child poverty is likely to be compounded and this as well affects learning, especially for the poorest children.
A Kenyan Ministry of Health report update indicated that the incident rate of COVID-19 among the 0-19 years age group was 11% and this was higher for those in the 10-19 age group at 7%, than the younger 0-9 age group, which was at 4%. This is consistent with data from US and China that shows that data so far suggests that outcomes of the virus for children have been reassuring and that the direct impact of COVID-19 infection on children has, until now been quite mild than for the elderly or middle aged. Hospitalization rates for children who are symptomatic are at least up to 20 times lower than for the middle aged and in some cases up to even 100 times lower than for the elderly and that most of the ill children recover within in one to two weeks with good supportive care and prognosis. However, According to UNICEF, although children may not be directly severely affected by this pandemic compared to the adults, the impacts on their lives will be far reaching including through the impacts of the socio economic measures that have been taken by various government to try and curb the spread of the pandemic or through the longer term effects of not implementing the sustainable development goals as planned. Globally, at least more than 100 countries have closed educational institutions including Kenya and concerns have already been raised about the impact that this will have on the gains that have already been made towards education for the marginalized.