How COVID-19 has trapped Abu Khaled at home in Gaza
Abu Khaled lives in a Palestinian refugee camp located in the central Gaza Strip. He is 72 and supports his wife and a daughter. Initially, people in the Gaza strip were not too worried about the coronavirus pandemic, given that the borders were completely closed. But after the first cases were discovered there, the situation changed, especially for Abu Khaled.
He suffers from several chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and breathing problems. His vision is very weak, and he needs a lot of support in his day-to-day life. The support and treatment he currently receives are not enough and his doctor says he needs an oxygen tube because of his respiratory disease, as well as a wheelchair. He tries hard to get the basic, essential treatment for his illness so that there are no complications, but treatment is expensive.
A prisoner in his home
Abu Khaled used to go for regular walks down the street - leaning on his son - to break up his daily routine, as well as going to the nearby health centre for treatment. These rituals stopped, and he became a prisoner in his home, afraid of contracting the virus.
The limited space in his house and the lack of a wheelchair for movement and treatment made keeping mobile difficult, and at the beginning of his home quarantine, his medication supply was delayed and disrupted.
But the main problem remains his breathing difficulties, as he needs to travel to visit the Hospital’s chest and respiratory department twice a week for treatment. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the department has been closed as a precautionary measure, which has worsened his health problems.
Staying safe from coronavirus
Abu Khaled’s family did not have sufficient knowledge of prevention measures and social distancing, or the supplies necessary until he was provided with a parcel containing soap, disinfectant, and other essentials. He was very happy with this parcel, but it is not enough given his longer-term health needs, the need to isolate at home, and the continuing spread of the virus.
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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