Using Phone Surveys to Assess the Effects of COVID-19 on the Delivery of Health and Nutrition Services in Ethiopia

Using Phone Surveys to Assess the Effects of COVID-19 on the Delivery of Health and Nutrition Services in Ethiopia

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Guush Berhane, Daniel O. Gilligan, Kalle Hirvonen, John Hoddinott, Naureen Karachiwalla


This study assesses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of health and nutrition services in rural Ethiopia using a phone survey. This three-wave survey will illuminate disruptions to healthcare delivery and the adoption of precautionary health behaviors in 251 sub-districts. We seek to uncover how the work of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) has changed during the pandemic; specifically, the extent to which these frontline health providers have been unable to conduct their usual duties or have needed to redirect efforts from previous services such as antenatal, postnatal care, and nutrition messaging to COVID-related activities. In August 2019, IFPRI designed and implemented an in-person survey aimed at understanding the delivery of health and nutrition services by HEWs in four regions of rural Ethiopia. Two-hundred and fifty-six HEWs took part in the survey; 97 percent provided a phone number. We conducted the first round of follow-up phone interviews in May 2020 and achieved a response rate of 91 percent, yielding a sample of 233 HEWs. The HEWs will be interviewed again in August and October 2020, to track changes in health service delivery during the pandemic.

Project Outcomes of Interest

Availability and HEW use of Personal Protective Equipment (N95 masks, other masks, gloves, gowns) and other equipment (soap, thermometers, distancing patients) at their health facility; Characteristics of health facilities, such as number of HEWs, ability to test for COVID-19 using nasal swabs; Time use including changes in tasks conducted since the pandemic (visiting homes, providing ante- and post-natal advice, nutrition training); New tasks such as diagnosing and tracking cases and providing information on COVID-19 to communities (what advice has been provided—wearing masks, distancing).


International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Impact Goals

  • Improve women’s health, safety, and economic empowerment
  • Keep children safe, healthy, and learning
  • Reduce COVID-19 transmission rates

Project Data Collection Mode

  • CATI (Computer-assisted telephone interviewing)

Results Status

No Results Yet