Main Article Content
Aim: This survey aimed to highlight the mental and social health-related complaints of children and adolescents during the lockdown in Nigeria.
Study Design: Descriptive cross-sectional.
Place and Duration of Study: Respondents from all six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, from May 9 to June 8, 2020.Nigeria.
Methodology: A snowball sampling technique was used to recruit 260 respondents, consisting of parents/caregivers of children 18 years and below from states affected by the lockdown. An online self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Logistic regression analysis was done on mental health-related complaints (dependent variables), with participation in the radio/TV sessions, presence of computer at home, access to the internet, and income-level of parents as independent variables. Adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Results: The median age of respondents was 38 years (with an interquartile range of 9); 155 (59.7%) were females, 239 (91.9%) married, 167 (64.2%) had tertiary education, 83 (31.9%) were low-income earners, 202 (77.7%) had computer devices at home, 243 (93.5%) had internet access at home. Logistic regression revealed that children who participated in the radio/TV sessions were more likely to complain of being bored; and children without internet access at home were more likely to complain of being unhappy, express anxiety/fear and show signs of stress. However, 113 (43.4%) agreed their children learnt a new skill, and 159 (61.1%) agreed there was increased family bonding during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Conclusion: The pandemic threatens the mental and social wellbeing of Nigerian children. Policymakers must put in place measures that address factors which increase the likelihood of mental and social health-related complaints among children by improving access to the internet, subsidizing costs and developing child-focused mental health services with new strategies to reach those already affected.
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