The Impact of COVID-19 on Filipino Children and Adolescents and the Way Forward

As the youth are the most vulnerable sector to the challenges and risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also in the best position to understand the challenges faced by other youth in remote parts of the country. They can relate to each other’s feelings about inequality, violence in the home and in cyberspace, online classes, lack of access, and other issues.

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Research on VAC and VAW during COVID-19

Research is critical in the formation of policies and programs to prevent and respond to violence against women and children. It is even more critical during the time of the pandemic to understand which forms of violence are more prevalent, who are more vulnerable, which programs should be strengthened and what new services must be provided. However, COVID-19 control measures have impacted the design and implementation of research on VAW and VAC. COVID-19 has complicated existing challenges and presents new dilemmas on safe and ethical recruitment of participants and on data collection.

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Online Activities for Children

Education in the home should not be monotonous and boring. Art can provide the needed relief to allow children and parents to refocus their attention and energize their spirit. Art is a good way to develop a new skill, to discover a way of expressing ideas and emotions and to communicate positive messages.

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Supporting Parents as Teachers

Education comes in different forms—formal or informal, structured or unstructured, and institutionalized or home-based. During the COVID-19 pandemic, education is continually evolving in a way that it has become dependent on online communication. School children have moved from buildings and classrooms to the living room or study rooms of their homes. In the new set up, parents are given the additional responsibility of closely supervising their children’s education, study habits, screen exposure and of protecting them from new forms of dangers online and making sure that they have all the support they need to adjust to the new normal.

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Positive Parenting in the Time of COVID-19

Violence against children is more than just physical violence. More often, children are subjected to verbal abuse, especially at home. When unable to accomplish tasks or perform inadequately or discordant with specific instructions, children are reprimanded, shouted at or abused with the use of inappropriate language. The foundation of a good happy relationship in the home and in the family consists of positive communication, positive affirmation, and positive language. The MaPa Program presents strategies that can help parents better preserve harmony in the home and prevent violence.

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Online Safety of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Children have been dramatically affected by the pandemic as they are forced to constantly go online where they may fall victim to the dangers lurking in the internet. A sharp increase in the number of children calling helplines and a heightened risk of economic exploitation of girls across the region has been observed. Technology companies are doing their share to ensure that enough safeguards and mechanisms are put in place to protect the most vulnerable sectors of online users.

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Healthy Internet Use in the Time of Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has indiscriminately imposed the “new normal.” The stay-at-home setup has given children the time and opportunity to seek entertainment in the home through online games, social media, or online content. Moreover, online schooling has made gadgets indispensable to them. Excessive screen time can affect children’s overall health, thus time at home should be governed by rules and routines to be able to reap the benefits of being online without compromising one’s overall wellbeing.

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Mind Matters: Adolescent Mental Health 101

During adolescence, teenagers are undergoing so many changes within themselves. Their bodies are developing. The parts of their brains are maturing at different rates that affect their emotions and decision-making. They need an environment where they can be allowed to process these changes, to be with people, like parents, family members, social workers and other members of the community, who understand what they are going through, and be able to know if they need intervention or professional help and how to get it.

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Child Protection in Education in the Time of COVID-19

Parents, guardians and school personnel have the duty to protect children from violence, abuse and neglect at home and in school and to help children report incidents to the proper authorities. As online classes went full blast only during the pandemic, the DepEd is revising its guidelines to encompass the new aspects of learning through the internet and address the peculiar issues related to online learning.

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Online Life: Making it work for you

The integrity and security of personal and business information and transactions are compromised when not enough safeguards are put in place. As cybercrimes take different forms and culprits have become more creative, adept and more aggressive in their schemes, users must be proactive in detecting and preventing attacks. They must know their legal rights, the laws that govern transactions and the means by which they can seek redress.

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Multidisciplinary Case Management: Legal and Law Enforcement Issues and Solutions

The process of reporting and filing of complaints with the proper authorities have undergone several changes to adapt to the challenges and restrictions brought about by the pandemic. The Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice have found new ways to make the justice system work, ensure continued service and guarantee the protection of women and children’s rights.

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How to Handle Grief

The COVID-19 virus has claimed over a million lives. And for every death, there are five people grieving that death. In the Philippines, more than 6,000 people have died from the disease which means that more than 30,000 Filipinos are grieving. To cope with grief, those who are left behind go through a mourning process which is a requirement for healing.

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Multidisciplinary Case Management: Mental Health Issues and Solutions

A single case of abuse involves a multidisciplinary approach that takes into consideration all the issues from the medical, social work, mental health and legal perspective. Professionals from various disciplines are called upon to perform a specific role to help victims cope with all the various stages, concerns, requirements, and issues of the case before treatment, intervention, or case build up can be pursued.

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Caring for the Mental Health of Women and Children Protection Frontliners during the Pandemic

Healthcare providers must be mentally and physically fit to be able to provide quality care to patients. Self-care plans must undergo constant review to safeguard their welfare. As the challenges and demands of a crisis could overwhelm the system and its workforce, it is important for healthcare providers to have the tools to help them understand and learn to cope with the situation wherein they too would have to seek help. Frontliners, especially who are heavily burdened with work and other issues, need support, compassion and care.

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Multidisciplinary Case Management: Social Work Issues and Solutions

Case management is a complex task. Many agencies and their personnel need to constantly work together to achieve the best result for the client. Case management is made more complicated if it involves children being abused in the time of the pandemic. Through purposive effort, the agencies have learned to adapt to the new way of doing things so as to continue to look out for the best interest of children.

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Telemedicine in the Philippines

Telemedicine is defined as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communication to improve a patient’s clinical health status.

In the Philippines, the most widely used form of telemedicine is the store-and-forward type. Others include the real-time and remote monitoring types. Telemedicine provides improved access to health care because it allows health facilities to expand their reach. It also brings about reduction of healthcare cost and increases efficiency in service delivery and improves quality of service.
However, telemedicine in the Philippines faces many challenges foremost of which are the lack of an all-encompassing policy, the lack of reimbursement scheme, the risk of liability, and the COVID-19 pandemic. On the technology front, telemedicine is in need of technological infrastructure, good network coverage, and diverse information systems. In terms of human resources issues, there is lack of skilled workers, resistance to change and perceived additional workload. It also faces challenges in terms of implementation cost and sustainability.

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Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children

Out of the 43 million Filipino children aged 18 and below, roughly 13.4 million children belong to families living in poverty. This portion of the population is considered the most vulnerable to OSAEC. In the past six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed children’s lives, threatening their health, education, safety, and well-being. It has forced the world to stay at home that resulted in the increased number of OSAEC incidents, with many poor Filipino families falling into the trap of cybersex for income.

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Nature-Based Activities for Children

Children have the natural tendency to engage in play, particularly outdoors. They are gifted with a natural curiosity, love of discovery, and enthusiasm that allow them to explore the world around them. Unknowingly, they are educating themselves in the best way possible by involving all their senses. However, the prolonged pandemic, coupled with the advent of information technology, cut short children’s play with nature in the great outdoors. Parents must take on the challenge and the responsibility to entice children to venture again into the wide open spaces with the right kind of activities and guidance.

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Child Abuse: Mental Health of Children and Adolescents during Pandemic

Young children, school-aged children and teenagers displayed various forms of anxiety as the pandemic forced on them disrupted routines, extended stay in the home, social isolation and unpredictability of the future. Parents, even as they are also adversely affected by the situation, must find ways to manage their own stress, continue to nurture their children and build their relationship with them. In cases where traumatic experiences of the child become unmanageable, parents must seek help and intervention from competent professionals.

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Child Protection 101 for Physicians

Studies show that child physical abuse becomes more rampant during disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic is a long, overdrawn disaster that has forced children to stay indoors where most abuses occur. Hence, the home is no longer a safe haven for children. Health experts have an important role in detecting abuse, thus, they must be equipped with the proper knowledge and tools that can help them immediately identify the red flags of abuse. More than just healing a child’s physical injuries, health practitioners also have the responsibility to help guarantee the protection of the child by reporting cases to the proper authorities.

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Getting the WCPUs COVID-19 Ready

Each panelist representing WCPUs in five hospitals around the country shared their experiences on the various sanitation practices, health protocols, facility transformation, and information technology innovation that their units had to implement to cope with the demands of the pandemic; the kind of support that was needed to make these changes as quickly as possible; and the effect of these changes and new quarantine measures on the number of cases accommodated.

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Gender-Based Violence in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant quarantine and lockdown measures took a toll on the plight of women and children. Studies revealed that the majority of incidents of violence and abuse occur in the home and the victims were often left helpless without access to authorities or support services. Another cause for alarm is the under reporting of incidences and the emergence of different forms of abuse on children online such as cyber bullying, gambling and pornography. Statistics show that 90% of health workers in the Philippines are women, thus they have a higher risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Policy framework on the COVID-19 response should take their concerns into consideration. Moreover, for reporting and response mechanisms to be effective, internet connection must be accessible to all.

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Beyond Community Quarantine in the Philippines

In August 2020, with the rising cases of COVID-19, Philippine medical experts, led by the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), called for a time out. The healthcare industry was nearly reaching its capacity limit. Health professionals, hospital beds and personal protective equipment have become rare commodities. HPAAC appealed for a tightening of community quarantine to halt the steep rise in COVID-19 cases and allow the government and the private sector to come together to draw up a unified strategy to flatten the curve and help the most vulnerable sectors of society cope with the pandemic.

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