Adapting infant and young child feeding interventions in the context of COVID-19 in Somalia

Moalim Ahmed, S., Hussein B, O. and Barasa, E.
Publication language
Date published
01 May 2021
Concern Worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting infection prevention control (IPC) measures have required nutrition programmes to adapt to ensure that services can continue.  

Adaptations were required to the Concern-supported infant and young child feeding (IYCF) programme in Somalia to ensure that caregivers of infants under two years of age continued to access vital IYCF individual and group counselling services, tailored to the COVID-19 context, in a way that minimised the risk of transmission of the virus. Adaptations included the translation and dissmemination of key IYCF COVID-19 messages, the training of health workers on IYCF in the COVID-19 context, IPC measures implemented in individual and group counselling sessions, a reduced number of participants at group counselling sessions (and an increase in the number of sessions held and IYCF counsellors per health facility to support this), an increased number of handwashing stations at health facilities and the inclusion of people recovered from COVID-19 into counselling sessions to help to address the stigma and rumours associated with the virus in the community. Programme data shows that the number of beneficiaries reached during 2020 increased compared to 2019 as a result of the adaptations made. A key challenge was the huge effort required to promote and support many behaviour changes in a short space of time among health staff and beneficiaries and the need for additional funds, made possible by the realignment of budgets and flexible donor funding arrangements.