Changes in Key Health and Nutrition Service and Agricultural Activities Due to COVID-19
The full impacts of COVID-19 and the restrictions adopted to mitigate the pandemic are yet to be seen. In low and middle-income countries (including Ethiopia), the impact of containment and preparedness policies on the health of the overall population and maternal and newborn health could be more pronounced. Even before the emergence of COVID-19, high-quality and timely healthcare services were unavailable, inaccessible or unaffordable for millions of individuals. The COVID-19 will have short and long-term impacts on Ethiopian agriculture and its extension systems, thereby affecting the food security. The probable short-term impacts of the COVID-19 on the Ethiopian extension system could be the disruption of the normal and major activities of the extension services (advice, training, input delivery etc.) due to restrictions on movement, gathering, and meetings. The objective of the current study is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation strategies on key health and nutrition services at PHCUs and on agricultural activities in Growth through Nutrition-supported woredas during March-July 2020.
A cross-sectional study design was employed using both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. The quantitative data was used to determine the magnitude of the impact on various routine health care deliveries. This was done by taking data from the planned activities by each sector for the months of March-July 2020 and achievements on the key indicators during the same period in previous year (2019). A total of sixteen woredas were included for the quantitative data, eight model woredas from the four regions and another eight non-model woredas were selected for the study (two of each per region). Data from PHCUs and Agriculture Offices in the selected woredas were retrieved from the appropriate individuals (health center head, HEW, QI focal person) in the PHCUs and Growth through Nutrition agriculture zonal coordinators, Woreda Agriculture Office Heads and Agriculture Development Agents. Key informant interviews (KII) were done with ten purposively selected individuals by ensuring representation from the four regions, model and non-model woredas and both health and agriculture sectors.