A COVID-19 help centre for children has been set up jointly by four agencies to help children impacted by the pandemic, both for the infected who do not have access to healthcare and for those who have lost their parents to the virus, according to Director-General of the Children and Youth Department Supacha Suthipol.
65,086 children across the country were found to be infected with COVID-19 between the beginning of this year and August 4th, 15,465 of whom are in Bangkok and 49,621 in other provinces, said Supacha.
She added that, while many children are not infected, they have been affected by the pandemic, such as those who have lost parents to COVID-19, those whose parents have been infected and children who do not have access to medical services, experience malnutrition or have been left out of state welfare.
The four agencies include the Children and Youth Department, the Equitable Education Fund, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanagarindra Institute and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The Children and Youth Department has also improved its mobile application, to report and search for orphans and children at risk through related networks across the country, which will coordinate and deploy volunteers to take care of them while they’re in state quarantine. In case they do not have relatives or cannot return home, these children will be sent to one of the four state welfare homes, which can each accommodate up to 160 children.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanagarindra Institute, Dr. Dutsadee Juengsiragulwit, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected children in many ways, be it education, family issues or losing parents to COVID-19. Such problems can cause stress among children.
She also said that about 5,000 children have lost their parents to COVID-19, and the numbers are likely to increase. Therefore, the Mental Health Department will help, by assessing the child’s mental health and sending medics and volunteers to help with their initial mental health care.
People can call the COVID-19 help centre for children on their hotline 1300, if they know of children who’ve been affected by the pandemic.
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