WORRIED

Most children lack masks, shows survey

Six in every 10 children in the country are worried about their well-being for lack of masks

In Summary

• Sixty-two per cent of children are worried about the lack of access to sanitiser.

• Children were also concerned about their parents and guardians lacking money and having no jobs at 45 and 44 per cent respectively.

Othaya MP Gichuki Mugambi’s wife Lucy Gichuki helps a child to wear a face mask at Biwomi Children’s Home
Othaya MP Gichuki Mugambi’s wife Lucy Gichuki helps a child to wear a face mask at Biwomi Children’s Home
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Since Covid-19 hit the country in March, 12-year-old Nelly* has been recycling one mask that cost Sh25.

Her single mother lost her job in April and cannot afford to buy masks for herself and Nelly. It is even a struggle to put food on the table.

The girl is now worried she might contract the virus.

“There are days I do not wear a mask because I have either misplaced or it is wet after washing,” a playful Nelly says.

“I do not recall when we last took two meals a day. Sometimes the one meal we take is not enough. So, I take a lot of water to ensure I do not get hungry fast.”

Nelly is one of the many children in Kenya who do not have masks.

A survey by Joining Forces Alliance and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission shows that six in every 10 children in the country are worried about their well-being for lack of masks.

The report called ‘The African report on child well-being’, also shows that 62 per cent of children are worried about the lack of access to sanitiser.

The survey was carried out between March and August 2020, where 6,650 children (49.5 per cent girls and 50.5 per cent boys) were engaged through phone conversations and virtual platforms with consent from their parents and guardians.

A follow-up survey was later done between November 13 and 16 and it involved 564 children from various parts of the country. Of the population, 48 per cent were girls while 52 per cent were boys.

Findings from the survey indicate that more than half of the children reported not having enough food at home as an issue affecting their well-being.

Children were also concerned about their parents and guardians lacking money and having no jobs at 45 and 44 per cent respectively.

In every 100 children, 35 reported child labour as an issue affecting them during the pandemic.

Other issues affecting children include inadequate access to learning materials at 49 per cent and being unable to social distance at 46 per cent.