Assessment of Effect of COVID 19 Pandemic on the Utilization of Maternal Newborn and Child Health Services in Somali Region of Ethiopia

Olusola Oladeji, Bibilola Oladeji, Abdifatah Elmi Farah, Yusuf Mohammed Ali, Mohamed Ayanle


Background: Somali Region of Ethiopia recorded the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19) pandemic on 26th April 2020. The study aimed to assess the effect of the pandemic on the utilization of maternal new-born and child health services.

Subjects and Method: This was a retrospective chart review of monthly DHIS database of health facilities in Farfan zone of Somali Region and test of association using t test was used to compare the mean reduction in utilization of maternal and child health services three months before (January – March 2020) and three months during the pandemic (April 2020 to June 2020) at p value set at significant level of 5%. The outcome measure was the utilization of maternal and child health services.
Results: The mean reductions in OPD per capita for children under five, children who received first dose of pentavalent vaccines and pregnant women who received first ANC before and during the pandemic was 14.26%, t=1.07; 95% CI= 283.17 to 725.17; p= 0.325); 12.51%, t=0.74; 95% CI= 1439.33 to 2697.31; p= 0.489) and 14.43%, t=0.49; 95% CI= 2363.33 to 3543.41; p= 0.642) respectively, while the mean reduction in skilled birth deliveries conducted at the health facilities was 21.4%, t= 0.97; 95% CI= 319.26 to 736.16 ; p= 0.371).
Conclusion: The study provided early effects of COVID 19 on health and health services and the need for policy development on health system strengthening and resilience to withstand future outbreaks. This study indicated that indirect health service effects are substantial and highlights the importance of maintaining routine essential health and nutrition service delivery and the need to explore innovative ways of delivering both preventive and curative essential service.

Keywords: COVID 19, pandemic, maternal newborn and child health, utilization, essential services

Correspondence: Olusola Oladeji. UNICEF Somali Field Office, Ethiopia. Email:

Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health (2020), 05(04): 458-469


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