BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
CITIZENS’ nutrition levels have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has depleted incomes, a non-governmental organisation, Nutrition Aid Zimbabwe, has said.
This came out during a virtual meeting last Friday which unpacked the science, economics, and politics of COVID-19.
Nutrition Aid Zimbabwe manager Craig Nyathi said cash transfer programmes had managed to increase resilience of the poor and vulnerable households as they were accorded the ability to purchase food and pay for healthcare services.
“However, the provision of cash does not necessary translate to ideal behaviour such as procuring nutritious foods,” he said.
“We conducted a study which investigated the determinants of procurement of legumes and animal source foods among potential beneficiaries of a cash transfer project and also conducted a barrier analysis study in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. Structured interviews were administered to 90 purposively-sampled respondents (45 doers and 45 non-doers).
“The study investigated the four most common behavioural determinants such as perceived self-efficacy, perceived social norms, perceived positive consequences, and perceived negative consequences. It revealed that those likely to receive social assistance were likely to procure legumes and animal source foods for household consumption,” Nyathi said.
He said good nutrition was crucial for health, particularly during the COVID-19 period when the immune system needed to fight back.
Nyathi said limited access to fresh food may compromise opportunities to continue eating a healthy and varied diet.
He said it can also potentially lead to an increased consumption of highly processed foods, which tend to be high in fats, sugars and salt.
Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe