The income of almost half (47%) of families with children in Serbia decreased during the pandemic and a quarter (24%) of the survey respondents were forced to reduce food costs for all family members.
These are the results of research conducted by UNICEF, USAID, the Government of Serbia and a social inclusion team, aiming to measure the socio-economic effects of the crisis on families with children, their access to health, education and social protection services, as well as the effects on parenting and mental health of children, their parents or guardians.
Deputy Director of UNICEF in Serbia, Yosi Echeverry Burckhardt, said that the results of the research were presented 20 months after the first COVID patient had been registered in Serbia, and that the pandemic has led to great changes in people’s daily lives.
The majority of parents of children aged between 7 and 17 (66%) estimate that distance learning has reduced their child’s motivation, and as many as 60% believe that schooling during the pandemic has had a negative impact on children’s further education. Austerity measures are more prevalent in the area of education and economic instability is more pronounced in poorer households.
Almost a quarter of families (24%) report that, at some point, they were forced to cut food costs for all family members. Regarding access to health services during the third wave of the pandemic, of the 55% of children who needed these services, as many as 87% were able to obtain them.
For almost 1/5 of the respondents under 17 years of age, they experienced worse mental health than before the pandemic. The highest percentage of people whose mental health worsened was children aged between 13 and 17. On the other hand, experts say, there are also some positive effects, such as increasing digital literacy, reducing the digital divide and improving teachers’ digital skills.
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