The COVID-19 pandemic and maternal mental health in a fragile and conflict-affected setting in Tumaco, Colombia: a cohort study

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June 2021
Paper author(s): 
Andrés Moya
Pieter Serneels
Alethea Desrosiers
Vilma Reyes
María José Torres
Alicia Lieberman
Education - Health

The  COVID-19  pandemic  and  resulting  public  health  measures  implemented  worldwide  have  had  profound  impacts  on  people’s  health,  livelihoods,  and  daily life.  Understanding  the  effects  of  the  pandemic  on  mental  health is important to guide policies to prevent further adverse   effects,   especially   among   vulnerable   and   underserved populations.Emerging research has analysed the relationship between the pandemic and mental health in the general population. There  is  increasing  evidence  of  negative  early  impacts.  With longitudinal data from a representative sample in the UK,   one   study   found   that   mental   distress   increased   from  19%  in  2018–19  to  27%  1  month  into  the  lockdown,  which began on March 25, 2020.1 Similar shifts have been observed  in  other  studies  in high-income  countries  and  across high-income and middle-income countries. Studies  suggest  that  the  psychosocial  burden  of  the  pandemic differs across populations. Socioeconomically vulnerable  families,  women  with  young  children,  and  individuals  with  pre-existing  mental  health  conditions  are   at   a   higher risk. The   pandemic   might   thus   exacerbate  inequalities  related  to  socioeconomic  and  mental health vulnerabilities. However, research in low-income  and  middle income  countries,  and  particularly  within  marginalised  populations,  remains  scant. The  effects  of  the  pandemic  in  fragile  and  conflict-affected settings, and on internally  displaced  persons  (IDP;  as   defined   by   the   International   Organization   for   Migration), have been largely unexplored.


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