Food Security Status During The Covid-19 Pandemic Among Vulnerable Groups In Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya
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Health guidelines to manage the COVID-19 pandemic could have led to unintended changes in states and processes that affect food systems, food security, and nutrition. The study conducted in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya focused on the impacts of the pandemic on food security and post-harvest losses. A cross-sectional survey was used to gather information on food security concerns from household heads in Keiyo South. Questionnaires were administered to 400 household heads derived from 99,861 households. Analysis of variance results indicated significant (p<0.01) differences among the vulnerable groups such as infants of less than six months (F= 4.665) pregnant women (F= 6.474) and people living with chronic diseases (F=4.838). According to World Bank report of 2020, the pandemic has resulted in an economic recession with significant loss of livelihoods and income and the consequent decline in purchasing power. Household income during the pandemic was correlated to diet change especially among vulnerable groups. There was a significant correlation (p<0.01) between household income during the COVID-19 pandemic and diet change for infants (r= 0.457), breastfeeding mothers (r= 0.609), pregnant women (r= 0.695) and those with chronic disease (r= 0.577). A relationship between household income and diet change for children between the age of six (6) months and five (5) years p (χ2= 27.657, df 8) =0.001 at α 0.05. Because of the disruption of household income occasioned by the pandemic, external interventions should target increasing income for households with the most vulnerable persons for improved food and nutrition security.
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