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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 693-698

Pulse of Gujarat during lockdown

1 Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Gandhinagar, Gujarat; Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed to be University), Wardha, Maharashtra, India
2 Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Somen Saha
Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, NH-147, Palaj Village, Opp. New Air Force Station HQ, Gandhinagar - 382 042, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdmimsu.jdmimsu_318_20

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Background: Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to India's poor and socioeconomically disadvantaged group. Among a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the infection. This study assessed the availability of food and access to healthcare among the vulnerable population of Gujarat– pregnant women and severe acute malnourished children. Specifically, we assessed events of starvation or skipped meal, availability of healthcare services, and self-reported psychological distress during the lock down. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study across 252 talukas and 33 districts of Gujarat was undertaken using a structured questionnaire. A telephonic survey was carried out and positive responses were received from 161 households (HHs) with severe acute malnourished children, 328 pregnant women with severe maternal anemia, and 402 lactating women. Results: We found 79.7% of surveyed HHs received ration where major reliance was on public distribution system (51.7%). Less than half of the beneficiaries (48.6%) received take-home ration under the ICDS program. Despite efforts of the State as well as voluntary agencies, 7.3% of HHs experienced episode of hunger, mostly from Devbhumi Dwarka, and Navsari district. A third of the respondents showed signs of psychological distress associated with lockdown. Conclusion: Food insecurity may lead to malnutrition impairing the immunity of the individuals to cope with the disease. Thus, given the uncertainty around the emergency situation, preparedness measures should not only focus on the availability of healthcare commodities but also to ensure the availability of other essentials, especially to the socioeconomic disadvantaged group.

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