In collaboration with UNICEF, Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) conducted a study that showed 47.1% of children could not access medical services.
A report by Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) and UNICEF has found that 47.1% of Moroccan children aged 6 to 7 could not access medical services during the lockdown the government enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The study looked at the financial situation of Moroccan households and their access to public services amid the chaotic and particularly challenging months of the country’s COVID-19 measures. HCP conducted the study in collaboration with UNICEF. With its focus on the pandemic’s impact on children, it is considered the first of its kind to be launched in the MENA region.
As well as their access to health services during the lockdown, the study analyzed the consumption patterns of households with children.
The results revealed that many Moroccan households had to prioritize other basic necessities (food, for example) over healthcare requirements during the lockdown. 35.9% of the Moroccan population could not access medical services, HCP found. This lack of access to medical services was more evident among children aged 6-7, with a percentage of 47.1%. 18.8% of the children are under 6.
According to the report, fear of COVID-19 contamination was the main reason 36.4% of Moroccan children could not have access to health services during the confinement period. For others (31.5%), it was the lack of financial means. 31.5% mentioned access difficulties (lack of transport), while for 6.3% it was because of the unavailability of nursing staff during the lockdown period.
Moroccan households’ socio-economic status played a crucial role in their chances of access to medical services, HCP found.
For rural populations, lack of financial means was the main reason for their lack of access,
Among urban, middle, and high-income households, meanwhile, the lack of nursing staff and fear of COVID-19 contamination were the two most cited reasons. The study also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has serious psychological impact among Moroccan children, with anxiety being the most frequent impact with 50.9%, fear with 42.6%; the feeling of being trapped 30.3%, obsessive behavior 24.3%, and eating and sleeping disorders 24.1%
In addition, nearly 84% of preschoolers in Morocco did not follow remote classes during the lockdown — mainly because of the parent’s lack of awareness about the available tools for remote learning.