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COVID-19 response in Bangladesh

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Age International has been working with our local partner HelpAge Bangladesh to help ensure older Myanmar refugees living in the camps are reached with vital aid and protected from the deadly virus. We have adapted and updated our existing programmes that had already been runnning since 2017, to support older people who have already lost so much. 

 

In August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya refugee people fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in fear for their lives. 1 in 5 were older people, who arrived with little or no belongings at the worlds largest refugee settlement in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. 


Age International worked with local partner HelpAge Bangladesh to set up age friendly spaces in the camps. Equipped with latrines, and washing facilties they have developed into safe community spaces for older people, where they can also find help, healthcare and psycholgical support. 

In pictures: a space for older Rohingya refugees

Our COVID-19 Response 

Last year we worked with our local partner HelpAge Bangladesh, to adapt and enhance existing services provided in our Age Friendly Spaces, which includes healthcare and psychological support, to help them prepare for the virus and reduce its spread.

Community volunteers held sessions and worked in key areas within the refugee camp to raise awareness of the virus and infection prevention, to help delay the peak of the infection so that health systems were better able to cope when it comes. 

Awareness sessions

More than 3,300 older people attended awareness sessions and received important information

Accurate messaging

More than 15,000 older people were reached with accessible health messaging, preventative measures and disease information

Healthcare support 

The introduction of movement restrictions meant older people could no longer have easy access to our Age Friendly Spaces and receive health care and pyschological support. The impact of COVID-19 and its consequences on older people are reportedly huge regarding the mental and physical health. To ensure their needs would continue to be met, we increased our outreach health teams which compromised of pharmacists, doctors and counsellors to provide 'home-care' services. 

 

We provided training to staff and community volunteers and are providing masks, medical gowns, gloves and other key kit to doctors, paramedics, physiotherapists, counsellors and other key frontline workers to enable them to continue to support older people without risking spreading the virus.

Many families are living in cramped squalid conditions within the camps, with limited hygiene and santitation resources. We distributed hygiene kits to the families of older people, to further help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Psychological support 

Usually, older people require mental health and psychosocial support along with regular healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand and necessity of the psychosocial counselling for the older people. It was also important to provide Psychosocial counselling to older people and their carers/ family members.

Hygiene and Sanitation 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protetct older people, handwashing stations were installed on the entrance of our Age Friendly Spaces. The most vulnerable older people received Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) alongside hygiene items. 

Many families are living in cramped squalid conditions within the camps, with limited hygiene and santitation resources. We distributed hygiene kits to the families of older people, to further help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Read more stories from the ground

Read more of the latest news and stories on our work in combating the coronavirus in low to middle income countries.

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