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Families have lost income to COVID-19, says World Bank

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By Collin Nweze

THE  COVID-19 pandemic has led to loss of income for many families and businesses, especially in the poorest countries, the World Bank has said.

In a report, the bank explained that due to the pandemic’s impact, most children – more than one billion – have been out of school and could lose out, on average, half a year of schooling, adjusted for learning, translating into considerable monetary losses.

World Bank Group President David Malpass, said: “The pandemic puts at risk the decade’s progress in building human capital, including the improvements in health, survival rates, school enrollment, and reduced stunting. The economic impact of the pandemic has been particularly deep for women and for the most disadvantaged families, leaving many vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty. Protecting and investing in people is vital as countries work to lay the foundation for sustainable, inclusive recoveries and future growth.”

Data also shows significant disruptions to essential health services for women and children, with many children missing out on crucial vaccinations.

It said the pandemic threatens hard-won gains in health and education over the past decade, especially in the poorest countries.

Investments in human capital-the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives-are key to unlocking a child’s potential and to improving economic growth in every country.

The World Bank Group’s 2020 Human Capital Index includes health and education data for 174 countries – covering 98 percent of the world’s population – up to March 2020, providing a pre-pandemic baseline on the health and education of children. The analysis shows that pre-pandemic, most countries had made steady progress in building human capital of children, with the biggest strides made in low-income countries. Despite this progress, and even before the effects of the pandemic, a child born in a typical country could expect to achieve just 56 percent of their potential human capital, relative to a benchmark of complete education and full health.

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