ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0474.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Public Health And Health Services Keywords: Covid-19; children and adolescents; Rwanda; structural inequalities; post colonialism
Online: 28 March 2023 (05:33:08 CEST)
COVID-19, the fear it engendered, and the policy measures to manage its spread have disproportionately impacted the wellbeing of children and adolescents (CAs). We present an intensive critical realist case study of the impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of CAs in Rwanda, seeing it as much a social and political crisis as a medical and public health one. To do this, we carried out interviews with a purposive sample of 25 leaders with a working knowledge of children and young people; they were more likely than the CAs themselves to observe changes across the CA population within their remit and more likely to be looking for general explanations rather than individual experiences. The findings show that CAs' responses to the changes wrought on their lives by Covid-19 were conditioned by their age, gender, social class and if they lived in urban or rural areas. However, Covid19 has not just revealed the structural weakness of the Rwandan health system but of education, social protection, child protection, employment, family, and financial systems. The pathway to (adverse) impacts of COVID-19 on CAs is conditioned by these institutions and their interactions together with structural socioeconomic inequalities both within Rwanda and globally.