The global COVID-19 pandemic may not have reached the Tongan shores yet, but its effects can be felt by about 40,000 children residing in the kingdom.
In just a few months, COVID-19 has upended the lives of children around the Pacific with thousands not being able to go to school, parents and caregivers losing their jobs and borders being closed.
In this new reality marked by uncertainty, the Government of Tonga released today the preliminary findings of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), its first-ever nationwide survey on children and women. The findings, in the form of a fact sheet, provide information on 213 MICS indicators, among which are 33 indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and 23 from the Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators.
Key facts highlighting the vulnerabilities of children to COVID-19 are also released as a separate statistical snapshot at the same time as the MICS6 preliminary findings. These findings are critical to informed decision-making by the government, key stakeholders, as well as development partners, in providing support for children, their families and those who are most in need.
Some of the survey findings that will also assist in the COVID-19 response planning include access to the internet and computers at home, access to soap and running water, vulnerability to physical punishment, access to education, health and the regularity of immunization services.
Data were collected by the Tonga Statistics Department, Government of Tonga, with technical support from UNICEF, UNFPA and the Pacific Community. The comprehensive Survey Findings Report and micro data will be released by the end of June.