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WASH in the market house - a situation analysis of water, sanitation and hygiene services in market places in Vanuatu

Love, Mark and Kotra, Krishna K. and Souter, Regina (2021) WASH in the market house - a situation analysis of water, sanitation and hygiene services in market places in Vanuatu. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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    Abstract

    This report presents the results of research undertaken in thirteen fresh produce markets in the Republic of Vanuatu, located in Lakatoro (Malekula island), Luganville (Santo) and Port Vila (Efate) (Figure 1). The overarching research objective was to better understand the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation in a variety market places, from central market houses through to smaller satellite markets, in order to identify WASH-related COVID-19 vulnerabilities, the types and effectiveness of preparation and protection measures undertaken in market places thus far, and to explore their impacts on market vendors. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been, as of June, 2021, just three active COVID-19 cases in Vanuatu - all of which have been detected in quarantine. Despite there being no community transmission of COVID-19 in Vanuatu to date, the pandemic has had a substantial impact on the country. The State of Emergency border lockdown and cessation of tourism has led to an economic recession, resulting in major job losses in the two main tourist centres of Port Vila and Luganville. Additionally, local and international remittances have greatly decreased. Whilst the government have implemented some economic support measures for small business this does not include market vendors. In response to the threat of COVID-19 the government have instigated a variety of public health measures that have directly impacted markets. These include an increased focus on hygiene (e.g. the installation of handwashing stations), social distancing guidelines, restricted selling hours and, in many but not all locales, a one-day-market rule whereby vendors are no longer permitted to sleep at markets. Combined with a general drop in demand for fresh produce due to the economic down turn, these measures are disproportionally impacting women, who make -up over 90% of market vendors. Results from this study affirm that vendors' income has decreased by half or more, with the greatest decrease experienced in Port Vila. Elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the availability of affordable and nutritional food services, and there has been some concern that this may occur in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (e.g. United Nations, 2020a). Recent research from Solomon Islands has identified increased food insecurity in both rural and urban areas (Wairiu et al, 2020). Markets are one of the top three sources of food for Port Vila residents (World Vision Vanuatu, 2018) and there is a fear that if markets closed, prices increase and/or food supplies where disrupted, this would detrimentally impact urban residents - many of whom are already amongst the most socio-economically vulnerable in the country (VNSO, 2013). Whilst this study did not gather household level data (and hence cannot ascertain if household food insecurity has risen ) the data suggests that from a food systems perspective the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has thus far been on the demand, rather than the production and supply, side.

    Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
    Uncontrolled Keywords: WASH, COVID, MARKET, VANUATU, DRINKING WATER
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
    Q Science > Q Science (General)
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
    Depositing User: Krishna Kotra
    Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2021 13:03
    Last Modified: 13 Aug 2021 13:03
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/12892
    UNSPECIFIED

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