Impact of COVID-19 on multidimensional child poverty – Save the Children, UNICEF

COVID-19 Impact: Child Poverty

Impact of COVID-19 on multidimensional child poverty
Save the Children, UNICEF
Technical Note – September 2020
Child poverty is more than the lack of monetary means. Although measures such as household income are important, they provide only a partial view of the plight of children living in poverty. Therefore to understand the full extent of child poverty as well as the impact of COVID-19 on it, we must look at children’s ability to access health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and housing services.

Approximately 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty – without access to these essential services – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the analysis jointly carried out by Save the Children and UNICEF. Using data on access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries, the authors find that around 45 per cent of children were severely deprived of at least one of these critical needs before the coronavirus pandemic even hit. And although the current data paint a dire picture, the situation for children living in multidimensional poverty is likely to worsen unless national governments and the international community step up to soften the blow.

[Technical Note excerpt]
…The situation in health is a bit more complicated. Health services (whether they are immunization,
preventive, or curative) have been disrupted to varying degrees in different countries. We have
information on this from periodic country office reporting against an evolving questionnaire to assess the socio-economic impact of the pandemic as well as disruption of social services

We also have information on the determinants of the probability that children will or will not be immunized based on their background characteristics. For children who had attained the age to be fully immunized before the pandemic struck, their immunization is not taken away. However, for children who were less than 12 months of age and should have been immunized during the first half of this year, we can combine the information on service disruption and probability of being vaccinated, to estimate how many additional children should be considered severely and moderately deprived of vaccination. In order to maximize the use of prior information, this probability is combined for each child depending on whether they have already received some vaccination prior to their first birthday to obtain a ranking of children from the most likely to the least likely to be immunized.

Both the likelihood they would be severely or moderately deprived is estimated, at the level of the prevailing national immunization rate. This would yield the “pre-COVID” likely rate of deprivation. This
number is used as a baseline among the younger cohort. Then, the country specific rate of disruption of immunization services is used to estimate the percentage and number of additional children deprived in immunization based on the ranking of likelihood of being immunized.

For instance, if services declined by 10 %, the immunization rate (nationally) would also decline and the incidence of deprivation in health due to immunization would go up. For each country a range, based on country-specific data or from neighboring countries with similar COVID-19 incidence, is estimated using a minimum and maximum estimation of service disruption…