Introduction Due to the close relationship between EVD and nutrition, the humanitarian community implemented various nutrition-specific and -sensitive interventions to stem the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. Little, however, is known about stakeholder and community members’ perspectives toward this response in Guinea. Therefore, we aimed to firstly understand how EVD may have influenced the nutrition situation; and secondly to assess the perceived acceptability and effectiveness of the nutrition response. Materials and methods Using 27 in-depth interviews conducted in April–May 2016, this descriptive, qualitative study had three iterative phases in an emergent design. Phase 1 explored the perceptions of 11 high-level policy and management staff. Phase 2 assessed the views of 16 community members, survivors, and front-line workers. Phase 3 compared the qualitative findings to relevant nutrition indicators from secondary data for final interpretations. A systematic, team-based coding approach using Dedoose software identified key themes during textual analysis. Results Overall, several plausible pathways through an interrelated network of bio-social factors help describe EVD impacts on the nutrition situation of Guinea. At a basic level, complex social dimensions of health, response unpreparedness, and market disruptions were perceived to be major determinants affecting the nutrition situation, especially among IYC. At an underlying level, household food security was negatively impacted, along with weakened care-seeking practices, IYC feeding practices, and coping strategies. Consequently, treatment coverage for childhood illnesses and IYC diets were negatively impacted during the outbreak. In hindsight, most participants had positive perceptions toward the overall EVD response, but described salient considerations for improving upon this nutrition response during future outbreaks. Discussion This study highlighted the complex web of inter-related factors through which EVD was perceived to impact the nutrition situation in Guinea. Considering the multi-level social and behavioral dimensions of health and nutrition is critical for effectively responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)