Title : Coping Strategies in Situations of Household Food Insecurity in Greater Maputo, Mozambique: a qualitative study
Food insecurity (FI) is a living reality for many households in low- and middle-income countries, especially among the most vulnerable groups. In Mozambique, the burden of household FI and how various coping strategies might be associated with negative health outcomes is unknown. This study aimed to investigate the experiences and coping strategies used by food insecure households and their perceived health outcomes. Accordingly, 16 in-depth interviews were performed and audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was employed and 5 themes were generated. A wide-range in experiences and coping strategies was reported with focus on skipping meals, eating unsafe and low quality foods, having less nutritious monotonous diet, reducing and re-allocating food intake, reducing meal preparation costs, sending children to relatives and selling household appliances and furniture. Furthermore, the respondents experienced emotional distress, poor academic performance, anxiety and depression, substance use, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, increased risk for HIV/AIDS acquisition and other perceived health outcomes. These findings suggest the need for employment creation and women empowerment as well as implementation of appropriate policies and health programs designed to alleviate household food insecurity.