How to respond to pandemics? Focus Group Discussions
In 2020, the world was shaken with the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak leading to quarantines, different institutions’ closures, devastated industries and millions of jobs lost all over the world, including Armenia. Though today the infection cases have dropped in Armenia, however the COVID-19 still remains a novel and not fully predictable virus with constant mutations, and to top it all another risk of pandemic has arisen in the form of the monkeypox. Meanwhile, the vulnerable groups of the society become even more vulnerable during pandemic outbreak, their specific needs are not considered in the state response to the pandemics and its consequences. One of the factors leading to the situation is the lack of state awareness and a specific tool/strategy on how to respond to the pandemics consequences and their negative impact on vulnerable groups of the society, more specifically to the key populations of HIV prevention strategic program.
Thus, New Generation Humanitarian NGO has undertaken the development a specific pandemic response strategy based on needs and specificities of key populations, which will be a strong advocacy tool for including these groups in state and international pandemic response programs. And in order for the developed strategy to be target oriented and needs based, 6 focus group-discussions and 2 in-depth interviews with representatives of key populations.
The discussions went on in an active and enthusiastic atmosphere, all the answers and descriptions of problems and needs the participants faced during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and pandemic caused crisis will be summed up by the strategy development expert and included as the basis of the developed document.
The strategy is developed within the project Response To Consequences of Pandemics on Key Populations implemented with the financial support of the European Commission in the framework of the “Eastern Partnership – COVID-19 Solidarity Programme”.