These times are not normal times! We are in difficult times! This too shall pass! We are all in this together! These are recurring assuring statements made by governments to citizens to conscientise them on how terrifying the COVID-191 threat is to humankind and the need for a resolve to work together to combat this threat.
To avert untold disasters, as was the case of the Ebola outbreak, national governments in most countries have announced a raft of measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Evidence from past crises and natural disasters suggests that confinement measures often lead to increased or first-time violence against women and children. It was reported that amidst school closures during the West African Ebola epidemic, rates of child labour, neglect, sexual abuse, and adolescent pregnancies spiked, and many girls never returned to school
It is therefore evident that the emergence of pandemics affects women, men, girls and boys differently. However, adolescent girls are affected greatly during crises. Their education is cut; they are likely to be exposed to health risks, violence and abuse, promiscuous lifestyles, burdened with care and house duties amongst others. Hence, such threats to the socio-economic wellbeing of adolescent girls in West Africa need to be addressed with utmost caution and attention to ensure that the post-COVID-19 effects are not disastrous for adolescent girls in the region.
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