Infection and Social Dislocation: Wellbeing Impacts of COVID-19 on Children and Young People - Perspectives of Rwandan Leaders

Pamela Abbott, Agnes Bingwaho, Eilidh Cowan, Lucia D'Ambruoso

Research output: Working paperPreprint


COVID-19, the fear it engendered, and the policy measures to manage its spread have disproportionately impacted the wellbeing of children and adolescents (CAs). We present an intensive critical realist case study of the impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of CAs in Rwanda, seeing it as much a social and political crisis as a medical and public health one. To do this, we carried out interviews with a purposive sample of 25 leaders with a working knowledge of children and young people; they were more likely than the CAs themselves to observe changes across the CA population within their remit and more likely to be looking for general explanations rather than individual experiences. The findings show that CAs' responses to the changes wrought on their lives by Covid-19 were conditioned by their age, gender, social class and if they lived in urban or rural areas. However, Covid19 has not just revealed the structural weakness of the Rwandan health system but of education, social protection, child protection, employment, family, and financial systems. The pathway to (adverse) impacts of COVID-19 on CAs is conditioned by these institutions and their interactions together with structural socioeconomic inequalities both within Rwanda and globally.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMDPI AG
Number of pages15
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Thanks to Joyous Senga, who supervised the data collection, and Roger Sapsford and Claire Wallace, who commented on earlier versions of this paper. The authors alone remain responsible for the content of the paper. The paper does not necessarily represent the views of the Court of the University of Aberdeen or the Board of the University of Global Health Equity. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or manuscript preparation.

Version History

Version 1 published 28 March 2023


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