UNFPA hands over protective equipment to the elderly amid COVID-19

VOV.VN - The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) presented personal protective equipment aimed at helping elderly people combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Social Protection Department under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs on January 14 in Hanoi.

The aid given to the Department includes gloves, face masks, anti-droplet face shields, thermometers, and hand sanitizer worth a total of US$30,000.

They are set to be distributed to social protection centres and community caregivers who are located in high-risk cities and provinces, such as Hanoi, Hai Duong, Da Nang, and Quang Nam.

Upon addressing the handover ceremony, Naomi Kitahara, a representative of UNFPA in Vietnam, described that the pandemic is amplifying vulnerability among the elderly. Indeed, COVID-19’s fatality rate for older people is far higher, whilst for those above the age of 80, it is five times higher than the global average.

Moving forward, it is vital that elderly people are made a priority in dealing with COVID-19 in order to ensure that no individual is left behind in terms of the humanitarian response, in addition to development efforts, Kitahara added.

Praising the support offered to the elderly by UNFPA in Vietnam, Pham Thi Hai Ha, deputy director of the Social Protection Department, said that ensuring the health of citizens, especially providing essential health care and services for the elderly, is one of the top priorities of the Government.

In line with this, protecting the health of medical workers and caregivers of older people also requires considerable attention, meaning that sufficient personal protective gear is required.

According to the UNFPA, the COVID-19 pandemic has served to adversely impact the elderly as they and those suffering from underlying health conditions are more susceptible to virus infection, therefore resulting in higher fatality rates.

Elderly people residing in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centres, must be fully protected from infection and adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Indeed, those living alone may face barriers to obtaining accurate information, food, medication, and other essential supplies during quarantine periods.

Despite rapid population aging and the number of people aged 65 and above accounting for 7.7% of the local population, the nation is still one of the few countries to effectively cope with the pandemic. As a means of sustaining this achievement, it should prepare all conditions necessary to ensure social security and nursing services for the elderly, especially those living alone, at care centres, and those with disabilities, the UNFPA stated.