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2.
Am J Biol Anthropol ; 2023 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237900

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa introduced new societal adversities and mental health threats in a country where one in three individuals are expected to develop a psychiatric condition sometime in their life. Scientists have suggested that psychosocial stress and trauma during childhood may increase one's vulnerability to the mental health consequences of future stressors-a process known as stress sensitization. This prospective analysis assessed whether childhood adversity experienced among South African children across the first 18 years of life, coinciding with the post-apartheid transition, exacerbates the mental health impacts of psychosocial stress experienced during the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (ca. 2020-2021). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data came from 88 adults who participated in a follow-up study of a longitudinal birth cohort study in Soweto, South Africa. Childhood adversity and COVID-19 psychosocial stress were assessed as primary predictors of adult PTSD risk, and an interaction term between childhood adversity and COVID-19 stress was calculated to evaluate the potential effect of stress sensitization. RESULTS: Fifty-six percent of adults exhibited moderate-to-severe PTSD symptoms. Greater childhood adversity and higher COVID-19 psychosocial stress independently predicted worse post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in adults. Adults who reported greater childhood adversity exhibited non-significantly worse PTSD symptoms from COVID-19 psychosocial stress. DISCUSSION: These results highlight the deleterious mental health effects of both childhood trauma and COVID-19 psychosocial stress in our sample and emphasize the need for greater and more accessible mental health support as the pandemic progresses in South Africa.

3.
Glob Health Res Policy ; 7(1): 18, 2022 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962911

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and governments' attempts to contain it are negatively affecting young children's health and development in ways we are only beginning to understand and measure. Responses to the pandemic are driven largely by confining children and families to their homes. This study aims to assess the levels of and associated socioeconomic disparities in household preparedness for protecting young children under the age of five from being exposed to communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). METHODS: Using data from nationally representative household surveys in 56 LMICs since 2016, we estimated the percentages of young children under the age of five living in households prepared for communicable diseases (e.g., COVID-19) and associated residential and wealth disparities at the country- and aggregate-level. Preparedness was defined on the basis of space for quarantine, adequacy of toilet facilities and hand hygiene, mass media exposure at least once a week, and phone ownership. Disparities within countries were measured as the absolute gap in two domains-household wealth and residential area - and compared across regions and country income groups. RESULTS: The final data set included 766,313 children under age five. On average, 19.4% of young children in the 56 countries lived in households prepared for COVID-19, ranging from 0.6% in Ethiopia in 2016 to 70.9% in Tunisia in 2018. In close to 90% of countries (50), fewer than 50% of young children lived in prepared households. Young children in rural areas or in the poorest households were less likely to live in prepared households than their counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: A large portion of young children under the age of five in LMICs were living in households that did not meet all preparedness guidelines for preventing COVID-19 and caring for patients at home. This study highlights the need to ensure all families in LMICs have the means to prevent the spread of the pandemic or other communicable illnesses to young children during pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Child, Preschool , Developing Countries , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Poverty , Prevalence
4.
Lancet ; 399(10336): 1741-1752, 2022 04 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1805366

ABSTRACT

The survival and nutrition of children and, to a lesser extent, adolescents have improved substantially in the past two decades. Improvements have been linked to the delivery of effective biomedical, behavioural, and environmental interventions; however, large disparities exist between and within countries. Using data from 95 national surveys in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), we analyse how strongly the health, nutrition, and cognitive development of children and adolescents are related to early-life poverty. Additionally, using data from six large, long-running birth cohorts in LMICs, we show how early-life poverty can have a lasting effect on health and human capital throughout the life course. We emphasise the importance of implementing multisectoral anti-poverty policies and programmes to complement specific health and nutrition interventions delivered at an individual level, particularly at a time when COVID-19 continues to disrupt economic, health, and educational gains achieved in the recent past.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Developing Countries , Adolescent , Birth Cohort , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Poverty , Research
5.
Matern Child Nutr ; 18 Suppl 3: e13345, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774875

ABSTRACT

Caregivers are often concerned about baby behaviours. Without adequate counselling, parental response can lead to altering infant feeding and jeopardizing breastfeeding. We conducted a systematic review to assess the evidence about the influence of baby behaviours perceived as problematic (crying, sleep waking and posseting) on infant feeding decisions during the first 6 months of life (self-reported milk insufficiency, breastfeeding duration and introduction of formula). The review focused on quantitative studies published in English, Portuguese or Spanish without date restriction. The search was designed with the support of a medical librarian and conducted in seven databases. Data were managed in Covidence and risk of bias was assessed through the Johanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal checklists. Synthesis of the literature was guided by a conceptual model of the impact of baby behaviours on caregivers feeding practices. We retrieved and reviewed 4312 titles/abstracts and selected 22 for review; 10 were purely descriptive and 12 were cross-sectional, prospective and quasi-experimental studies. Although studies from diverse regions were included in the review, more than half were from high-income countries. All studies reported that baby behaviours affect feeding decisions, the most common baby behaviours studied were crying and fussiness, and the studies suggested relationships with lactation problems and reports of milk insufficiency, maternal breastfeeding confidence, breastfeeding duration and discontinuation, and introduction of formula. There are many factors that lead to perceiving baby behaviours as problematic and there is a need to provide anticipatory guidance to parents and caregivers, starting in pregnancy and counselling through well-trained health providers.


Subject(s)
Breast Feeding , Caregivers , Female , Humans , Infant , Parents , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies
6.
NPJ Sci Learn ; 6(1): 27, 2021 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1402070

ABSTRACT

A recent Nature article modelled within-country inequalities in primary, secondary, and tertiary education and forecast progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets related to education (SDG 4). However, their paper entirely overlooks inequalities in achieving Target 4.2, which aims to achieve universal access to quality early childhood development, care and preschool education by 2030. This is an important omission because of the substantial brain, cognitive and socioemotional developments that occur in early life and because of increasing evidence of early-life learning's large impacts on subsequent education and lifetime wellbeing. We provide an overview of this evidence and use new analyses to illustrate medium- and long-term implications of early learning, first by presenting associations between pre-primary programme participation and adolescent mathematics and science test scores in 73 countries and secondly, by estimating the costs of inaction (not making pre-primary programmes universal) in terms of forgone lifetime earnings in 134 countries. We find considerable losses, comparable to or greater than current governmental expenditures on all education (as percentages of GDP), particularly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. In addition to improving primary, secondary and tertiary schooling, we conclude that to attain SDG 4 and reduce inequalities in a post-COVID era, it is essential to prioritize quality early childhood care and education, including adopting policies that support families to promote early learning and their children's education.

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