Is Covid targeting children?

23 July 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

The health ministry is at a loss of words after Namibia recorded seven times the Covid-19 child deaths of the United Kingdom (UK) - which has a population of more than 26 times that of the Land of the Brave.

According to a study by four universities, in the UK, two children per million under 18 have died annually due to Covid-19, which puts Namibia - based on available statistics - at 14 children per million under 14.

According to Statista, children make up 36% of Namibia’s 2.5 million population, which equals 921 000 children under 14.

The BBC reported earlier this month that the risk of children becoming severely ill or dying from Covid-19 is extremely low as England reported only 25 deaths under 18, out of a general population of 12 million children.

The report stated that 15 had life-limiting or underlying conditions, including 13 living with complex neuro-disabilities, while six had no underlying conditions recorded in the last five years - though researchers caution some illnesses may have been missed.

It added that though the overall risks were still low, children and young people who died were more likely to be over the age of 10 and of black and Asian ethnicities.

The Lancet Journal on Child and Adolescent Health echoed that children and young people remain at low risk from Covid-19 mortality.

13 child deaths

Meanwhile, Namibia has since the outbreak of the pandemic recorded 13 Covid-19 child deaths, of which only five had recorded and known comorbidities.

This was confirmed by the health ministry.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula on Sunday asked to see the studies cited by the Namibian Sun before he could give a comprehensive response.

“It is unusual to lump infants, children and adolescents together as they have different determinants of health. We calculate either infant or child mortality rates and are to 1 000 per live births and not per million.

“The child mortality rate in Namibia improved from 55.8 live births in 2008 to 42.4. In 1970, it was 96 per live births. All interventions are bearing fruit,” he said.

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