Covid-19 News

Government issues guidelines on how to protect children over coronavirus

The state department for social protection has released a raft of measures that are meant to protect vulnerable children against the Coronavirus pandemic.

The measures include educating children on coronavirus such as how they can protect themselves from it and their online safety.

Turkana County Children Officer Julius Yator said the messages are also meant to ensure that parents and caregivers have sufficient information on how to handle their children as well as how government officers should handle street-connected children and those in refugee camps like Kakuma.

“We have emphasised the need for handwashing with soap, also telling children that it is safe to play with their siblings while indoors as well as helping them deal with misinformation about the COVID-19 disease by discussing what they read and hear with their parents,” said Yator.

Yator underscored the need for parents and caregivers to supervise what their children access online adding there is a need to limit the children online time.

He added that the ministry has also provided guidelines regarding how charitable children institutions can send the young persons to their home or arranging to be independent.

“They must ensure that the young person has a place to live before leaving the charitable institution and facilitate them with clothing, hygienic supplies and other basic needs. They must also discuss and prepare a virtual monitoring plan for the young person through phones, email and WhatsApp on a weekly basis,” he said.

However, he added that depending on the unique circumstances of a case, the institution should consider delaying the transition until it can be done in a manner that is safe for the young person.

Government and civil societies must ensure that information on Coronavirus reaches children on the streets and ensure they are not discriminated against during the curfews.

“Government and civil society organisations should ensure that drop-in centres and facilities are designated as essential services and are equipped with child or youth-friendly information,” added Yator.

The ministry has provided helpline 116 to help children who need counselling services.

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