每日英語跟讀 Ep.963: A Cataclysm of Hunger, Disease and Illiteracy
We think of COVID-19 as killing primarily the elderly around the world, but in poor countries it is more cataclysmic than that.
It is killing children through malnutrition. It is leading more people to die from tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. It is forcing girls out of school and into child marriages. It is causing women to die in childbirth. It is setting back efforts to eradicate polio, fight malaria and reduce female genital mutilation. It is leading to lapses in vitamin A distribution that will cause more children to suffer blindness and die.
The U.N. Population Fund warns that COVID-19 may lead to an additional 13 million child marriages around the world and to some 47 million women being unable to get access to modern contraception.
In short, a pandemic of disease, illiteracy and extreme poverty is following on the heels of this coronavirus pandemic — and it is hitting children hardest.
The greatest impact of COVID-19 may be not on those whom the virus directly infects, but on those shattered by the collapse of economies and health and education systems in developing countries.
“The indirect impact of COVID-19 in the Global South will be even greater than the direct impact,” Dr. Muhammad Musa, executive director of BRAC International, an outstanding Bangladesh-based nonprofit, told me. “The direct impact, as tragic as it is, affects those infected and their families. The indirect impact has economic and social consequences for vastly more people — with jobs lost, families hungry, domestic violence up, more children leaving school, and costs over generations.”
In this sense, many of those whom COVID-19 kills never actually get the disease. Instead, they are children who die of measles because they couldn’t get vaccinated in a time of plague — up to 80 million children may miss vaccinations. Or they die of malnutrition because their fathers lost jobs as rickshaw drivers or their mothers couldn’t sell vegetables in the market.
As is often the case in economic crises, the burden falls particularly on girls.More are being married off as children so that the new husband’s family will feed them, or they are sent off to the city to work as maids in exchange for food and negligible incomes — while facing an end to education and significant risk of abuse.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/357771/web/