Somalia

BRCiS COVID-19 Monitoring Report 4

Attachments

REPORT ISSUED: 10/01/2022

Key Messages

  • The BRCiS COVID-19 Monitoring system has been collecting data from Safety Net cash beneficiaries to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health and livelihoods. Six rounds of data collection have been conducted covering June 2020 to November 2021.

  • Due to the end of the BRCiS cash transfer programme in many areas, the results reported here come from a smaller sample of households (n=427) than in previous data collection rounds.

  • A forth wave of infections impacted Somalia from July to December 2021. Results from round 6 show that the syndromic score case rate rose during this wave to 102 cases/1,000,000/day and exceed the estimate from the third wave but did not reach the peak seen during wave 1.

  • The estimated COVID-19 death rate increased to 6.8 deaths/10,000/day but was only about half the peak level seen in wave 1. The crude and under-five death rates remained well below humanitarian thresholds.

  • Behavioural indicators showed that adherence to preventative behaviours such as mask wearing and social distancing had decreased since the third wave.

  • However, vaccine acceptance has increased with 76% reporting that they would accept vaccination if it was available.

  • In contrast, the reported COVID-19 vaccine coverage was only 2.6%, indicating a large unmet demand.

  • Following the completion of round 6 data collection a wave of infections, presumably due to the omicron variant, has started to impact Somalia. A steep rise in infections was reported by the WHO/MOH in late December. While there is evidence from other countries that the disease caused by this variant is less severe, its very high transmissibility means that the public health situation remains unpredictable.

  • Continued behaviour change communication and monitoring of the situation is recommended during the ongoing wave of COVID-19 in Somalia.

Overview

The Building Resilient Communities in Somalia consortium (BRCiS) is comprised of eight partner NGOs and is led by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). BRCiS has been monitoring the impact of COVID- 19 on the beneficiaries of its Safety Net pilot cash transfer programme since June 2020. Evidence for Change (e4c), a humanitarian research and learning generation organisation was contracted to provide technical support for this work. This is the fourth report from the BRCiS COVID-19 Monitoring System in Somalia, and covers the period up to November 2021. Methods

The BRCiS Safety Net pilot project has served 43 communities across 10 regions until the second half of 2021. However, the Safety Net project is now ending and the cash transfers are currently only conducted in Qardho and Iskushuban districts in Puntland, and Adaado, Dinsoor, and Luuq in southern Somalia. During the current data collection round, we included 427 households. Participant households had diverse livelihoods and included pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and urban residents.

A team of enumerators, closely supported by consortium staff and supervised by e4c technical consultants, collected longitudinal data on households that were receiving Safety Net cash transfers. Household heads were interviewed by telephone and data was captured on mobile devices using ODK software. Data was collected on the prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms, the death of household members, as well as key indicators of preventative behaviour and attitudes towards vaccination. Deaths were monitored to determine the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic. To find out if a death is likely to have been caused by COVID-19, we used the COVID-19 Rapid Mortality Surveillance questionnaire and analysis software developed in association with WHO.

To identify suspected cases of COVID-19, we used a similar symptom scoring approach to the one used in the mortality surveillance screening tool. We asked about the presence of a range of symptoms and used these to calculate a symptom score and classify a person as suspected case. The symptom scoring and case definition is described in more detail in the annex. This report describes findings from all six rounds of data collection, between June 2020 and November 2021.