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Webinar on Impact of Covid-19 on availability and access to health and nutrition services – insights from a rapid study in five states..


A Webinar on “Impact of Covid-19 on availability and access to health and nutrition services – insights from a rapid study in five states,” was presented by Professors S. Ramanathan and VasudhaChakravarthy, Development Solutions, Delhi, over CISCO Webex Meetings on Friday, the 17th of July, 2020, at 3.30 pm. Dr TirthaChatterjee, Assistant Professor, CDS was the moderator of the webinar.

Abstract: The Corona virus pandemic has affected and overwhelmed health systems globally. In India, the health system was struggling with several challenges, even in the pre-Covid-19 context. The onset of the epidemic and subsequent lock down measures had affected access to healthcare, more so among vulnerable populations and those in hard to reach locations. In this context, Development Solutions, with support from the Population Foundation of India (PFI), undertook a rapid study to assess the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the availability and access to health and nutrition services, in rural contexts. The authors study five states through  secondary review of Government orders, advisories, and media articles and qualitative primary surveys (phone interviews) with 263 Front-line Workers. They  found that  outreach service provision through community forums such as the Village Health and Nutrition Day, were suspended across states. Consequently, access to services for women, children, and adolescent girls, including ante-natal and post-natal care, nutrition provision at Anganwadi centers, health commodities such as sanitary pads, contraceptives, for instance, were affected. At health facilities, the focus was on institutional delivery and Covid-19 care, to the near exclusion of other health care provision. Front-line workers were faced with the challenge of managing the Covid-19 response, while also following up with those in need of emergency care and enabling support.