Special, long-term support crucial to ensure best care for children orphaned by COVID-19 hinh anh 1Chilren in a quarantine facility (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – COVID-19 has killed over 19,000 people in Vietnam, leaving thousands of children orphaned. More than ever, they are in need of special and long-term care to ensure their comprehensive development.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training, over 1,500 students in local schools have lost their parents in only two months. But the figure may be much higher in reality when considering all the children not included in the education system.

Head of the Children Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dang Hoa Nam said that the crisis caused by COVID-19 is different from others in that there is a crucial need to take care of both physical and psychological health for children to ease their psychological trauma, especially among orphans.

The Children Department has asked localities to make accurate lists of needy children, especially children orphaned by COVID-19, in order to give them timely and full support and ensure that no child is left behind, and no child has to leave school due to COVID-19.

Along with efforts from the State and local government, many organisations and individuals have joined hands in assisting children in overcoming losses.

Recently, three non-governmental organisations in Vietnam - the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD), Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren) and Capacity Building and Support Center for Women and Children (CSWC) - have joined hands to launch the “You are not alone” campaign to support children orphaned by COVID-19 – the hidden victims of the pandemic.

Special, long-term support crucial to ensure best care for children orphaned by COVID-19 hinh anh 2Illustrative image (Source; VNA)

The “You are not alone” campaign aims to support disadvantaged children orphaned by COVID-19 within the networks of participating organisations, as well as extending support towards the wider community through an open application system where any orphaned child outside their existing networks can seek help.

In order to offer timely and suitable support to the orphans, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has asked cities and provinces nationwide to keep updated on the numbers of needy children and the situation of each case as well as the aspirations of the children and their guardians.

The ministry has requested localities to prioritise family-based environment for the children by giving them alternative care in the family of their relatives to ensure best benefits for them. Nursing facilities will be considered the last choice. The ministry’s guidance has received support by many children support organisations, including the UNICEF in Vietnam.

UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers said that this is a timely decision to ensure that children deprived of parental care due to COVID-19 receive the support they need to overcome this incredibly challenging and difficult period, to have love and attention, even though it doesn’t come from their beloved parents, and through this care to thrive and to develop to their full potential.

Holding that institutions are not the best choice for orphans, Flowers stressed the need for the development of a child protection system that ensures alternative family placements are identified and monitored, Government allowances are provided, allowing children at risk to stay in a family environment, in their own community, connected to what they know, able to attend the same school with the same friends and supportive community.

Nguyen Dac Vinh, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Culture and Education Committee said that the support to children orphaned by COVID-19 is not a short-term issue but it needs a long-term policy. He underlined the need for the Government to design long-term and suitable policies to assist the children to overcome difficulties and receive best care until they become adults./.