While our colleagues at Age UK are working hard to support older people in the UK, at Age International we know that we only have a narrow window of opportunity in low-income countries, where healthcare systems are already severely stretched, weak, or non-existent.
We must act fast
In over-crowded slums or refugee camps, basic hand hygiene and physical distancing is already a struggle. A widespread COVID-19 outbreak in these places would have catastrophic consequences.
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Older people are amongst the hardest hit
The risk of dying from COVID-19 increases with age – with most of the deaths observed in people older than 60, and especially those with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
69% of the global population aged over 60 live within low- and middle-income countries. These people are at greater risk of catching coronavirus, threatening their lives. The impact will affect not only them, but their families and communities.
Our work on the ground has started
Since March 2020 we have been working to reach communities in northern Syria, where in the last few months, hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee their homes. In Malawi and Mozambique, our community outreach teams are ensuring that vital prevention messaging reaches older people already affected by Cyclone Idai. In Bangladesh, we have distributed hygiene kits to 21,000 older people in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
We are also speaking to government officials to ensure public health messaging and support measures fully consider the needs of older women and men.
For more information on where we are responding to the crisis, and how, please visit this page.
Through local partners on the ground, we are working to reach the most vulnerable by:
- Raising awareness to limit the spread
- Strengthening our humanitarian response teams
- Training healthcare workers
- Providing protective equipment for staff and volunteers
- Distributing hygiene kits
- Increasing capacity of medical facilities
Plus any further work required to respond to this emergency.
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Any unspent funds raised will be used to support emergency programmes benefiting older people.