Filipino single mothers bear the brunt of COVID-19
“I was already having a hard time as a single mother before COVID-19 but since the community quarantine was imposed, I’ve never felt more helpless,” laments 30-year old Jessica.
Jessica, a single parent of three, worked at a burger shack earning at least Php 200 a day, until the pandemic further sets back her situation. She takes care of 5-month old Raizen, 7-year old Abigail who is malnourished, and 8 year old Adrian who has a clinical attention disorder.
“It has been two months since I was rendered jobless. It frustrates me and it breaks my heart when my children cry because of hunger,” she adds.
Based on a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO), Philippines has about 15 million solo parents, 95 per cent or more than 14 million of whom are women.
With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the down slope of economy, single mothers like Jessica suffer the most brunt especially in providing for the needs of their children while on community quarantine.
“This could take a toll on their physical, mental and emotional well-being, especially on women in poor communities. The disruption and even the loss of jobs and livelihood is glaringly felt by women and this brought a heightened loss of resources to meet their basic needs. The multiple burden of women is even more evident as the home becomes a place of work,” says Carleneth San Valentin, World Vision’s health and nutrition manager.
“Pregnant and lactating mothers are also affected. The lack of transport going to health facilities [due to] the community quarantine, the temporary suspension of basic heath services including maternal health care and nutrition services for women and children are also challenges that need to be addressed,” San Valentin explains.
Jessica could not bring her children, especially her youngest, to the health center in the last two months because of limited resources, mobility and fear that they could get infected. She has also not brought her eldest to the hospital for his regular checkups because of lack of money.
“I just want to provide for them and to give them what they need. I rely on relief goods provided by the government and generous individuals. I am also dependent on the help of my family,” she shares.
World Vision recently launched its unconditional cash transfer project to aid at least 15,000 families like Jessica’s.
In partnership with a financial service provider, Jessica received at least Php 1,000 which she immediately used to buy rice, vegetables, and vitamin supplements for her children.
“This means so much to me. Thank you for your help,” Jessica claims.
To reach more pregnant and lactating mothers, World Vision also partnered with local radio stations to broadcast health awareness, messages on infant and young child feeding as well as infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to aid mothers and children.