New research highlights impact of COVID-19 on food security in Kenya and Uganda

CABI scientists have conducted new research highlighting the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Kenya and Uganda with more than two-thirds of those surveyed having experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic.
21-Sep-2020 12:50 PM EDT, by CABI Publishing

Newswise — CABI scientists have conducted new research highlighting the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Kenya and Uganda with more than two-thirds of those surveyed having experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic.

Dr Monica Kansiime led a team of researchers who discovered, from a random sample of 442 respondents, that the proportion of food insecure people increased by 38% and 44% in Kenya and Uganda respectively.

The scientists, who conducted online questionnaires using WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter and email, also found that, in both countries, the regular consumption of fruits decreased by around 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the crisis struck.

Besides income effects, the respondents mentioned other COVID-19-induced social challenges such as restricted movements, interrupted work schedules, mental health issues, and isolation.

Dr Kansiime said, "Taken together, the results suggest that although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing detrimental effects on all economic sectors, farmers are more likely than salary and wage earners to report suffering income shocks.

"Potential explanations include difficulties for farmers to go to farms, access inputs or transport their produce to markets due to COVID-19 induced lockdown. Compared to salary and wage-earning workers, the farmers in this sample earned relatively low incomes. Consequently, even a small shock to their income-earning activity could cause devastating effects."

The study, published in the journal World Development, suggests that households indicated a change in their dietary patterns in response to the COVID-19 outbreak by consuming less diverse diets, skipping meals, and reducing portions of food consumed. This points to the negative impacts of the pandemic on household food and nutrition security, the scientists say.

Dr Justice Tambo, co-author, added, "During the COVID-19 period in Kenya, more than half of the respondents were worried about insufficient food, unable to eat healthy and nutritious food, ate reduced portions of food, and consumed limited food varieties. However, before the COVID-19 outbreak, only 30% of the respondents in Kenya experienced these food insecurity situations.

"Similarly, the number of respondents in Uganda who reduced the amount of food eaten, were unable to eat healthy and nutritious food, consumed less diverse diets, or were worried about not having enough food to eat increased significantly by about 30, 35, 45, and 50 percentage points, respectively, during the COVID-19 period relative to a normal period."

Except for vegetables in Kenya, the number of respondents who regularly consumed each of the five food groups - fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood, meat and poultry - reduced by about 50 percentage points during the pandemic.

This is a cause for concern, the researchers argue, given that some of these food groups are important sources of micronutrients needed for good health. Estimates suggesting that over two billion people worldwide already suffer from micronutrient deficiency.

To buttress the effects of the pandemic on income-generating activities, a self-employed respondent in Kenya remarked: "Since the last 45 days of the outbreak of this deadly disease, so many people have travelled back to rural areas to hide. This has made my business weak because most of my customers went away, and the current situation now is nothing but survival. There is no movement after 7pm, and this is reducing the business activity hence lowering income. Life is hard, generally."

As a result of the hardships faced by residents in Kenya and Uganda the respective governments have put in place range of financial and economic policy changes to try and mitigate the impacts.

These include, in Kenya, proposals for a post-COVID-19 economic stimulus package of 53.7 billion shillings ($503 million) to support businesses that have been hit by the pandemic.

Meanwhile in Uganda, the government introduced repayment holidays, debt relief of up 12 months, and a reduction of the central bank lending rate from 9% to 8%. Food relief to vulnerable workers has also been considered particularly those whose daily activities would be affected by the lockdown, in a way of extending social protection to vulnerable sections of the population.

However, it is feared that social assistance programmes like direct cash and in-kind transfers to households and waiver of utility fees could have yielded more favourable outcomes to such households, in particular, the wage earners whose earning has been affected by restrictions.

"The relief measures came into effect when people had already lost their sources of income, and social protection measures were hardly implemented due to logistical challenges, hence amounting to minimal relief," Dr Kansiime said.

The scientists believe the results of the survey suggest that that ongoing and future government responses should focus on structural changes in social security by developing responsive packages to cushion members pushed into poverty by such pandemics.

Such measures, they say, should also build strong financial institutions to support the recovery of businesses in the medium term, and ensuring the resilience of food supply chains particularly those making available nutrient-dense foods.

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3718
Released: 20-Oct-2020 5:40 PM EDT
Nearly a Quarter of New York City Transit Workers Report Having Had COVID-19
New York University

A survey of New York City’s bus and subway workers finds that 24 percent report having contracted COVID-19 and 90 percent fear getting sick at work. The pilot study, conducted by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health, in coordination with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, helps document the toll the pandemic has taken on the physical and mental health of essential workers.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 5:10 PM EDT
Viral post claiming Dr. Anthony Fauci was indicted is entirely false
Newswise

A Facebook post from May that is newly gaining traction says that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the leading voice of experts in the coronavirus pandemic, has been indicted for treason. This claim is entirely false. Despite President Donald Trump calling him a "disaster," Fauci has not been indicted. There is no news coverage to support this claim, nor any original, credible documents or sources to corroborate it.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 4:10 PM EDT
Safety Considerations for Visiting Primary Care Doctors
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people with chronic health conditions relying on telemedicine rather than seeing their doctor in person when necessary or putting off important visits entirely because they fear being infected. Ann M. Nguyen, an assistant research professor at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, who recently published a paper on safety measures at physician offices, discusses what people should know about visiting their doctor and why putting off appointments that need to be done in person could lead to other health problems.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 3:50 PM EDT
New Jersey, Nation Surpass Halfway Employment Recovery Mark
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

New Jersey gained back half of the jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic but a wide disparity remains between higher-income professionals working at home and lower-wage support workers still bearing the brunt of the economic downturn that has gripped the nation, according to a new Rutgers report.

Newswise: 246364_web.jpg
Released: 20-Oct-2020 3:25 PM EDT
Effective ventilation may be a key factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19
ESTONIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL

During the first wave of COVID-19, which paralyzed the world in spring, it was initially thought that effective hand washing and 2-metre social distancing would help prevent the highly contagious virus.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 3:10 PM EDT
Researchers discovered the second 'key' used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter into huma
University of Helsinki

To efficiently infect human cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is able to use a receptor called Neuropilin-1, which is very abundant in many human tissues including the respiratory tract, blood vessels and neurons. The breakthrough discovery was made by a German-Finnish team of researchers led by neuroscientists Mika Simons ,Technical University of Munich, Germany and virologist Giuseppe Balistreri, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 2:50 PM EDT
Population currently sees coronavirus as the greatest health risk
BFR Federal Institute For Risk Assessment

Next on the list of concerns, though notably less frequently mentioned, are unhealthy or wrong diet as well as climate and environmental pollution - these were the most frequently mentioned concerns in February's survey. "The coronavirus pandemic dominates public perception", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.

Released: 20-Oct-2020 2:45 PM EDT
Trump Mocked Biden for Saying He'll ‘Listen to the Scientists’
Newswise

U.S. President Donald Trump emphasized his stark contrast to his opponent Joe Biden in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic when he mocked Biden for saying he'll "listen to scientists."

Released: 20-Oct-2020 2:35 PM EDT
Most psoriasis patients taking immunosuppressants survive COVID-19
National Institute for Health Research

Patients with psoriasis who are taking drugs that affect their immune system have high rates of survival from COVID-19. According to the first findings from a global registry of psoriasis and COVID-19 patients, led by Guy's and St Thomas' clinicians, over 90% survive.

Newswise: Halloween Safety in the Coronavirus Era
Released: 20-Oct-2020 2:20 PM EDT
Halloween Safety in the Coronavirus Era
Cedars-Sinai

Halloween isn't going to be the same this year, but families can still have fun while reducing their risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 (coronavirus), says Priya Soni, MD, a Cedars-Sinai pediatric infectious disease specialist.


Showing results

110 of 3718

close
1.01768