Northeast Syria: Barriers to COVID-19 Related Health-Seeking Behaviour - May 2021

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Over a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, cases across Syria have continued to rise, compounding the vulnerability of individuals dually impacted by the over decade-long conflict. Following a significant increase in reported cases of COVID-19 across Northeast Syria (NES) in March 2021, REACH and the Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme (HNAP) endeavoured to improve humanitarian understanding of community perceptions of COVID-19, the barriers hindering effective mitigation, as well as community knowledge or acceptance of future vaccination campaigns. To achieve this, HNAP and REACH relied on a community focal point (CFP) methodology across the region. To better analyse the results and inform future programming, the findings of this assessment have systematically been disaggregated according to focal point type (healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers), as well through a geographic breakdown by governorate and and urban/rural disaggregation (see Annex 2 for more details). Additional analysis has been conducted overlaying data from the Northeast Syria COVID-19 Dashboard with the data that was conducted for the assessment.

Since the start of the pandemic, both HNAP and REACH have invested significant effort to enhance humanitarian knowledge about mitigation measures present and community knowledge of COVID-19 through various assessments such as the HNAP Rapid Assessments, Vulnerability Reports and Transit Point Monitoring and REACH Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Survey. However, critical gaps persist related to the type of barriers preventing individuals from engaging in mitigation measures. The following report addresses this gap and enhances the humanitarian community's understanding of the barriers preventing individuals from engaging in COVID-19 mitigation efforts or seeking care, including both physical and social hindrances, such as the lack of access or discrimination.