The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least one parent or primary caregiver for nearly 100,000 children in Peru, the country with the world’s highest COVID-19 death rate, its government reported Thursday.
“Unfortunately our country has almost 98,000 children who lost their father, mother or guardian during the pandemic,” said Peru’s Minister of Women Anahi Durand, citing figures published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Peru leads the world in overall COVID-19 deaths per capita, with more than 6,000 Peruvians per million having died from the disease, according to an AFP analysis of official figures.
The government currently provides a pension of 200 soles ($50) every two months to more than 18,000 families.
Durand hopes to expand the benefit to cover psychological and educational support, and to reach more than 83,000 children and adolescents.
A key issue under the current system is that many families lack the necessary documentation to receive the benefit, Durand said.
“Many families come to us and want to access the pension, but they do not have a death certificate for COVID-19 – in the first and second wave people died at home, they did not have conditions to get that certificate,” she explained.
The country of 33 million is undergoing its third COVID-19 wave and has recorded more than two million cases.
More than 202,900 people in Peru have died since the beginning of the global pandemic in early 2020.