Children’s Wellbeing in Ghana Amid COVID-19

A Robustness Check to Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) Methodology: The case of Nigeria

Teju Fagbeja and Victor Cebotari

This report is the first of a series of bi-monthly bulletins on children’s wellbeing in Ghana amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The reports aim to assess the effects of the pandemic on children in Ghana, focusing on vulnerable and poor ones as well as gender disparities. These reports have the primary purpose of empowering policymakers with timely evidence on child-related issues in the context of the crisis.

The analysis uses a longitudinal national representative phone survey with 3,265 households and 2,063 caretakers of children selected based on the sampling framework of the Ghana Living Standard Survey VII and administered by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). The data for this report (Wave 1) was collected through phone interviews in June 2020. The sample size consisted of 5,667 children aged 0-17 years (51.1% females) living in 2,186 respondent households representing all 16 regions, rural and urban areas, in Ghana. Interviews were conducted in local languages

The series of reports has the primary purpose of empowering policymakers with timely evidence on child-related issues, across the spectrum of wellbeing, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings of the first bulletin in this series include:

  • There have been significant adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in Ghana in the short-term concerning access to essential services, financial distress, food insecurity, mental health, increased risk of exposure to violence and child labor, and children’s learning.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 children aged between 6 months and 14 years had fewer meals than usual in the four weeks preceding the survey in June.
  • There was a decline in utilization of maternal and young child healthcare services due to fear of contracting the virus (primarily), unavailability of vaccines and movement restrictions.
  • A high percentage of children were reported to have shown signs of changes in their emotional state since the outbreak of the pandemic. Nearly 1 in 3 households reported that their children aged 6-17 years felt sad more often than before March 16, 2020.
  • Between March and June 2020 there was an 11% increase in the share of children age 5-17 years engaged in economic activities. Additionally, 35% of children age 5-17 years were engaged in household chores more frequently in the 30 days preceding the survey.
  • More than 1 in 5 children live in households in which physical punishment has become more common during the pandemic, with no gender difference.
  • A significant share of children normally attending primary and junior high school (35%), or senior high school (28%) have not engaged in any education or learning activity since school closures. The most common obstacles to learning at home include lack of access to information devices like computers and phones, lack of learning materials including books, lack of access to internet, and children’s lack of interest/motivation.

Download the report: Download file

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