The latest publication for the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) has been released as PNG NRI Spotlight Volume 13, Issue 7. The Spotlight is authored by Dr. Fiona Hukula, Senior Research Fellow and the Program Leader of the Building Safer Communities Research Program at the PNG National Research Institute.

The COVID-19 pandemic will affect different groups, including men, women and children differently. During times of crisis, such as the one we are currently facing, access to services for vulnerable groups such as victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and persons living with disability should be a key consideration for the government. This paper advocates that COVID-19 response plans should take into account services for survivors of GBV and the needs of certain vulnerable groups. These response plans should be guided by existing policies and programs.

COVID-19 pandemic will have a detrimental effect on livelihoods and the well-being of many people both in the rural and urban settings. The government’s response must be guided by an agenda that does not marginalise but ensures that everyone, including our most vulnerable populations are not stigmitised or excluded from COVID-19 response plans. Coordination of response plans for these vulnerable groups should be led in consultation with the relevant government agencies. Equally important is the need to collaborate with relevant NGO’s and faith-based groups who already provide services to these vulnerable groups. A coordinated approach that is guided by existing laws and policies such as the Lukautim Pikinini Act, Papua New Guinea National Policy on Disability 2015–2025, the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence 2016-2025, and the National Policy on Social Protection 2015–2020 will ensure that the needs of these vulnerable groups are appropriately addressed.

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