At the front of COVID-19 fight in India
India is experiencing a catastrophic surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and older people are at greatest risk.
Our partner, HelpAge India’s field workers are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic and are committed to helping the most marginalised. But they have to overcome many challenges including a lack of vaccines and basic supplies, in addition to poor access to many areas.
Here, Dr. Veena Dhawan, a HelpAge India Medical Consultant in a Mobile Health Unit working in Rangpuri area in Delhi, tells us about the challenges older people are currently experiencing in this pandemic and how they can be helped.
“Here in Delhi, many older people live in poor conditions, and if they do not earn money, they do not have enough to live on, and their needs are not met. Now, due to COVID-19, many have little work, and their life has become even more difficult. Moreover, many of them have underlying medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes.
We have also found that older people in these poorer areas are less aware of this pandemic than younger people.
We advise older people not to leave their homes. Unfortunately, many are not able to afford it. If an older person lives with a family, younger relatives can go for food and medicine. Older people living alone have to go out on their own.
Older people can get vaccines for free at vaccination points or for a small cost at private centres. They trust and rely on vaccines and there is a good level of trust in doctors and medicine.
Many older people would like to go and get vaccinated, but there are just not enough vaccines for everyone.
India needs more vaccines - this is our top priority.
India is not a small country. If the current vaccine situation continues, the entire population will not be vaccinated by the end of this year.
Social workers visit homes and register older people for vaccinations. A person then receives a message inviting them to the vaccination site on the designated date.
We spread awareness about COVID-19 to older people through our Mobile Health Unit (MHU) and distribute medication to them. They come to the MHU for free medication on a regular basis, and they are all grateful to HelpAge.
We use the MHU to educate them about vaccines and encourage them to get vaccinated so they can protect themselves and their families."
Older people in the poorest parts of the world affected by conflict or living in refugee camps need help urgently to survive the silent threat of COVID-19.
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