World

Nutrition Information Management, Surveillance and Monitoring in the Context of COVID-19 Brief No. 2 (July 2020)

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Manual and Guideline
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BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION

To support implementers to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of evidence-based guidance briefs are produced and updated as new information and evidence emerges. The first brief on nutrition information, surveillance and monitoring in the context of COVID-19 was released in April 2020. Building of recommendations from brief 1, this brief provides priority actions and recommendations for undertaking nutrition situation analysis and estimating its magnitude, monitoring impacts of COVID-19 including a proposed list of indicators, and alternative ways of data collection.

MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND USE ALTERNATIVE WAYS FOR DATA COLLECTION

In line with global recommendations on curbing the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended to continue to suspend all primary data collection activities (i.e. population-based surveys e.g SMART, MICS, DHS, etc, and mass screenings) involving in-person contact, unless deemed essential after critically weighing harms and benefits and until operational guidance on minimum criteria to restart population-based surveys is released. Even when mobility restrictions have been lifted and governments deem it safe to proceed with primary data collection activities, key ethical issues in relation to undertaking evidence generation in the context of COVID-19 should be considered:

a) Weighing harms and benefits – Determine clear justifications for the urgency and necessity for in-person data collection activities vs direct benefits for programming. A robust harm-versus-risk analysis should be undertaken to recognize the moral imperative to ‘do no harm’; determine:

  • the urgency and absolute necessity of the data for decision-making despite the risk;

  • the process to ensure the health and safety of the community and enumerators;

  • the resources required for recruitment, training, data collection, quality assurance and follow-up while ensuring adequate IPC (Infection Prevention and Control) measures;

  • the sensitization of the community on the objectives of data collection at this time. Consider how COVID-19 restrictions and messaging may affect community participation and engagement.

b) Ensure privacy, confidentiality and consent during and after the pandemic, when gathering data and appropriate communication of findings.