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BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 281, 2023 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2228374


BACKGROUND: In Cambodia, female entertainment workers (FEWs) are disproportionately affected by global and local disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government imposed tight restrictions, including closures of entertainment venues, such as karaoke bars, beer gardens, nightclubs, or massage parlors, leading FEWs to face economic and social disruptions. This study aims to assess the relationship between income loss during the pandemic and gender-based violence (GBV) among FEWs in Cambodia to inform future disaster response programs. METHODS: We conducted a phone survey in August 2021 with 369 randomly sampled FEWs from a national organization's email list. We used a structured questionnaire to ask the participants about job and income loss, food security, mental health, access to health services, and GBV. We fit a linear regression model to examine the differences in GBV experience between FEWs who lost all their income and those who lost partial income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key covariables comprised the number of dependents, smartphone ownership, internet access, food security, and mental health. Multivariable linear regression analysis was conducted. RESULTS: The mean age (31.6 vs. 30.6), years of formal education (6.3 vs. 6.3), marital status (24.2 vs. 23.8 never married), and the number of children (1.3 vs. 1.1) of women reporting having lost all income were not significantly different from those who experienced partial income loss. Overall, GBV experiences were significantly higher in FEWs who lost all income than in those who lost partial income (62.9% vs. 47.4%, p = 0.03). Controlling for the number of dependents, smartphone ownership, and food security, the adjusted odds ratio for GBV was significant in the adjusted model (AOR = 1.23 (1.08-1.40), p = 0.001) indicating that those who experienced total income loss were more likely to experience GBV than those who experienced partial income loss. In addition, they were significantly less likely to be food secure (p = 0.04), less likely to own a smartphone (p = 0.02), and had more dependents (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Disaster response programs should consider the implications of safety measures and government support for both formal and informal workers regarding safety, food access, and mental health support. Food assistance programs should target the most vulnerable informal sector workers during crises.

COVID-19 , Gender-Based Violence , Child , Humans , Female , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cambodia/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies