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Food price volatility and socio-economic inequalities in poor food consumption status during coronavirus disease-2019 lockdown among slum and non-slum households in urban Nansana municipality, Uganda.

Nutrition Journal 2023 January 12
BACKGROUND: This study assessed staple food price volatility, household food consumption scores (FCS), poor household food consumption status and its association with socio-economic inequalities during enforcing and partial lifting of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions in slum and non-slum households (HHs) of Nansana municipality, Uganda.

METHODS: Repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted during enforcing and partial lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. A total of 205 slum and 200 non-slum HHs were selected for the study. Telephone based interviews with HH heads were used to collect data on socio-economic factors. Data for FCS was collected using the World Food Programme FCS method. Prices for staple foods were collected by face-to-face interviews with food vendors from the local market. Mean staple food price differences before COVID-19 lockdown, during enforcing, and partial lifting of lockdown was tested by Analysis of variance with repeated measures. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between socio-economic variables and poor food consumption status. A statistical test was considered significant at p < 0.05.

RESULTS: Mean staple food prices were significantly higher during enforcing COVID-19 total lockdown restrictions compared to either 1 week before lockdown or partial lifting of lockdown (p < 0.05). Mean FCS for staple cereals and legumes were significantly higher in slum HHs during COVID-19 lockdown compared to when the lockdown was partially lifted (p < 0.05). In slum HHs, the prevalence of poor food consumption status was significantly higher during partial lifting (55.1%) compared to total lockdown of COVID-19 (15.1%), p < 0.05. Among slum HHs during lockdown restrictions, food aid distribution was negatively associated with poor food consumption status (AOR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.1-0.6), whilst being a daily wage earner was positively associated with poor food consumption status (AOR: 0.5, 95% CI: 0.1-0.6). During partial lifting of COVID-19 lockdown in slum HHs, poor food consumption status was positively associated with female headed HHs (AOR: 1.2, 95%CI: 1.1-1.6), daily wage earners (AOR: 3.2, 95% CI: 2.6-3.8), unemployment (AOR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.5-2.1) and tenants (AOR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.8-3.5). Female headed HHs, daily wage earners and tenants were positively associated with poor food consumption status either during enforcing or partial lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in non-slum HHs.

CONCLUSION: Staple food prices increased during enforcing either the COVID-19 lockdown or partial lifting of the lockdown compared to before the lockdown. During the lockdown, food consumption improved in slum HHs that received food aid compared to those slum HHs that did not receive it. Household heads who were females, daily wage earners, unemployed, and tenants were at risk of poor food consumption status either in slum or non-slum, and therefore needed some form of food assistance either during enforcing or partial lifting of the lockdown.

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