Peru has the highest per capita death rate of COVID-19 compared to any other country in the world. As of August 2022, roughly 214,000 Peruvians have died from COVID-19 out of the country’s population of almost 34 million. As of November 2021, Peru has had nearly 6,000 citizens die from COVID-19 out of every million Peruvians. Peru’s high mortality rate has caused massive devastation to the country’s economy and health care. However, something that has gone under the radar to most people is the large spike of orphans in Peru. As of April 2021, it is estimated that around 93,000 children in Peru had lost a parent to COVID-19.
Influx of Orphanages
Reportedly one out of 100 of Peru’s children’s population lost at least one parent to COVID-19. This large statistic only added to the grand total of 550,000 children who grow up parentless. Many children have lost their grandparents to COVID-19, which leaves devastating results for children in a country where it is common for grandparents to be the primary caregiver of their grandchildren.
Child poverty increased as a result of the pandemic as well, with around 39% of Peruvian children living underneath the poverty line, according to UNICEF. There are even some parents who are choosing to move to orphanages so that their children will have access to food and water.
This rising influx of Peruvian orphans poses a determinant to the mental, physical and economical health of Peru’s future generation. In addition, at least 1,000 Peruvian children have died as a result of COVID-19, The Guardian reports.
As a result of the massive uptake of orphans, the Peruvian government introduced the “orphan pension.” Introduced in March 2021, the orphan pension pays $55 monthly to children under 18 who lost a parent as a result of COVID 19. These cash transfer programs intend to address childhood poverty by fostering human capital investments in children. Evidence suggests that children who receive cash transfers receive positive benefits such as reduced poverty, increased food consumption, and increased access to mental health services, according to The World Bank report.
This increase in orphans in Peru is a serious matter. However, spreading awareness and bringing effective sources to the matter is a great stepping stone to fixing the problem at hand.