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Executive Summary


Novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is having devastating impacts globally. As of 10 April, 1,521,252 confirmed cases and 92,798 deaths have been recorded across 212 countries and territories. To date Vanuatu has no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 as of 10 April 2020
For Vanuatu, COVID-19 presents a range of contextual challenges. These include multiple islands, vast distances, limited resources and limited access to quality health services due to a lack of infrastructure, equipment, and qualified personnel. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases, are estimated to account for 48.4% of all deaths in Vanuatu. Food security and livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to shocks due to semisubsistence lifestyles and a high reliance on the informal sector for income.

A COVID-19 outbreak in Vanuatu could disproportionately affect women and girls adversely impacting their education, food security and nutrition, health, livelihoods, and protection. As primary care givers in the family, they are also the key frontline responders in the health care system placing them at increased risk of infection. Maternal and sexual reproductive health (SRH) needs continue in an emergency, but can be overlooked or deprioritised. COVID19 risks are also increasing women’s workload as schools close. As with all crises, there is potential for increase in family violence where pre-existing rates of violence against women are already very high. Men’s gender roles and norms need to be taken into account in order to ensure that men are properly targeted to help reduce their vulnerability to illness and to leverage their roles to help prevent the spread of the disease.