The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF) has disclosed that the prolonged closure of schools in Africa was harmful to the continent’s school-going children, a BBC report has said.
It has, therefore, call on African governments to promote the safe re-opening of schools during the pandemic by investing in sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus in learning institutions.
The two organizations, the report said indicated that students were being exposed to poor nutrition, teenage pregnancies, and violence during their extended stay-at-home as a result of the closure of schools.
The organizations made the call in a virtual press briefing on Thursday, August 20, 2020.
According to the Regional Director of WHO Matshidiso Moeti, Schools in Africa are a “safe haven” for children hence the need for governments to do their best to ensure students go back to school.
“We must not be blind-sided by our efforts to contain Covid-19 and end up with a lost generation. Just as countries are opening businesses safely, we can reopen schools,” she said during a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
UNICEF Regional Director, Mohamed Fall on his part, said the long closure of schools poses a risk to the future of children and their communities.
Closure of Schools
Schools across the world have been forced to shut down since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic which hit the world since December 2019.
A survey conducted by the WHO and Unicef has revealed that only six African countries out of 39 others have fully opened schools.
In Ghana, schools closed in March and have since seen only partial re-opening for the final year, universities, senior high schools, and Junior High schools to complete their education.