Ho Chi Minh City: efforts to care for children affected by COVID-19
Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City along with organisations and individuals have joined hands in caring for children, the most vulnerable group amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the beginning of this school year, the municipal Department of Education and Training announced that over 1,500 local students had been orphaned by COVID-19. The real number may higher.
Children are one of the subjects affected greatly and for a long time. The most affected children are isolated children, retarded children and children from economically disadvantaged families. To minimize the impact, children need support both during and after the epidemic.
Dang Tran Truc Dao, Chairwoman of the Women’s Union of Hoc Mon district, said that the majority of children orphaned by COVID-19 are from struggling workers’ families. While losing the love and care from their parents, the children have also faced many difficulties in their life.
Psychologists held that children are most vulnerable amid COVID-19. The pandemic has seriously affected children, both physically and mentally.
Tran Thi Thu Ha, deputy head of the southern office of the Vietnam Association for Protection of Child's Rights, underlined that caring for orphans is an urgent need. She said that along with listening to and sharing with the orphans’ loss, relatives of the children should carefully prepare to talk to the children on the pain suffering them.
According to Dr. Le Minh Cong, deputy head of the Social Affairs of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, relatives and caregivers should be with the children during this hard time and give them the feeling of safety so that the children can express all negative feelings. In the long term, joing hands from the whole community in supporting them is needed, said Cong.
Tran Trong Khiem, Vice Director of the Education and Training Division of Tan Phu district, said that children, including orphans, now need warm sentiments and care from their relatives and people surrounding them.
District 8 is home to 148 students whose parents died due to COVID-19. Nguyen Thanh Sang, Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee, said that the political system of the district is focusing on caring for the children. Meanwhile, wards in the district have reviewed the conditions of each case so as to give the child best and long-term support and care.
Meanwhile, many organisations and individuals in the city have engaged in the work with practical activities.
Le Thi Diem Huynh, Chairwoman of the Women’s Union of District 4 said that the union will work with wards in the district to make daily reviews to ensure all needy children get assistance. For those who lost both mother and father, the union will be sent to nursing facilities, she said.
At the same time, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Chanh district Dao Gia Vuong said that the locality has mobilised donors and local residents to care for or sponsor the orphans until they reach 18 years old and start vocational or tertiary training.
According to the Ministry of Health, as of September 25, HCM City had more than 367,000 COVID-19 patients, including over 14,000 deaths.
Dr. Cong said that in this in this period, relatives should accompany the children and do things they like with them, thus helping them feel happy and develop positive values in the community. He also advised families to give chances for the children to talk to their friends, especially their classmates.
Dang Hoa Nam, Director of the Children Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the family-based care environment is the best to bring the children up. In case the environment is lost, they should be sent to their relatives or other families. Nursing centres should be considered the last choice, he stressed.
The HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has designed urgent support solutions for children affected by the pandemic.
Vo Van Hoan, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCM City, said that the committee has asked the authorities in districts and wards and Thu Duc city to review and make a list of needy children, while exploring the aspirations of the orphans’ relatives during the building of support policies.
Secretary of the city Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen said that the city will make careful calculation to make sure that all orphans are cared for, ensuring their comprehensive development in the long term./.