A brief telecounselling intervention during COVID-19 for women in rural Bangladesh

Lead researchers:

Michael Vlassopoulos, University of Southampton, UK, and IZA
Abu Siddique, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Tabassum Rahman, University of Newcastle, Australia
Debayan Pakrashi, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Asad Islam, Monash University, Australia
Firoz Ahmed, Khulna University, Bangladesh

Partners: Monash University, Australia

Timeline: April 2020 to March 2021

Status: Complete

Method: Quantitative

The overview of the project:

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is confronting people around the world with an unprecedented combination of challenges: first, there is the risk of infection with the possible dire health implications for one’s self and family members; second, there is the challenge of coping with isolation due to the lockdown and the necessary social distancing measures that were taken by governments to control the spreading of the virus; third, the onset of the pandemic has brought about a dramatic disruption in economic activity exposing people to massive economic uncertainty and turmoil. However, the COVID-19 lockdown and physical distancing measures are having profound economic and social implications across the world. Women in rural areas may face an added burden due to income-loss (of household or self), limited access to maternal health care, increased domestic violence, and desertion during this crisis.

We collaborating with the University of Southampton, UK, and IZA; Technical University of Munich, Germany; University of Newcastle, Australia; Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India; Monash University, Australia; and Khulna University, Bangladesh are conducting a baseline survey from May 2020 in south-west Bangladesh. We are collecting a rich set of data on demographics, knowledge about COVID-19 and compliance with precautionary measures, mental health, and wellbeing of participating women. The study focuses on the following core objective.

  1. Examine the short-term effects of lockdown and social distancing measures on the physical and mental health of women in the Southwest region of Bangladesh;
  2. Examine whether a brief tele-counselling intervention during lockdown promotes better compliance with precautionary measures and is supportive of the transition to stable livelihood post lockdown.