The study was undertaken to understand the nutritional challenges among recently delivered women, lactating mothers and their children in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and recommend actions to safeguard their access to nutritious diets and essential services.
The study would map and assess the situation prior to the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown (before March 2020), during the lockdown (March/April- June/July), post lockdown (during the unlock phase- post-July/August 2020).
Approach and methodology
Development Solutions conducted the study in four districts of Rajasthan- Baran, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, and Udaipur. The selection of districts was based on nutritional indicators, population group, geography, topography, and agro-ecology.
Mixed methods data collection approach was adopted, which consisted of primary as well as secondary data. Primary data through qualitative interactions was collected from community members in semi structured in-depth interviews (IDIs) and mini-group discussions (MGDs). Key informant interviews (KIIs) of service providers (ASHA, Anganwadi workers) and concerned officials from ICDS and the Health department also contributed to the primary data collection.
Within each sampled district, two blocks were selected for data collection. One block was the district headquarter block, and the second one was far away from the district headquarter. Within each block, two AWCs were selected from nearby gram panchayats. One AWCs was selected randomly, and the second was at least 10 km away from the first. In total, 16 AWCs were visited.
Secondary data on key indicators were gathered at the Aanganwadi centre, district, and state level. The data was gathered from the registers at the 16 AWCs that were visited. This would be cross validated with the data for the particular AWCs in the ICDS CAS/MIS.
The data for these indicators were also gathered from ICDS and Health MIS at district levels. This data would be cross validated with data available at the state level.
Data and information from the above study enabled us to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the nutritional challenges faced by women and children. Insights from the qualitative interaction with the affected community, service providers, and the concerned health officials would help deliver required assistance and relief to the people. The study also recommended actions to safeguard their access to nutritious diets and essential services.