Old people receive free healthcare services at a community program in Hanoi. The UNFPA has donated personal protective equipment and hygiene items to help Vietnam improve healthcare services for the elderly amid Covid-19 – PHOTO: VNA
HCMC – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam handed over personal protective equipment and hygiene items to the Social Protection Department on January 14 to support caregivers and social care workers who provide services to older people in the Covid-19 context.
The supplies, including gloves, face masks, anti-droplet face shields, thermometers and hand sanitizers worth US$30,000, will be distributed to social protection centers and community caregivers in high-risk cities and provinces such as Hai Duong, Danang and Quang Nam.
According to the UNFPA, Covid-19 has had devastating effects on older people as they are at an increased risk of developing severe conditions and seeing higher death rates from the disease.
As one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, with the number of older persons aged 65 and above accounting for 7.7% of the total population, Vietnam has done an exemplary job in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic so far.
However, it is critical to prepare the country well to ensure dedicated and uninterrupted care and social security for the elderly to protect them from the pandemic, paying special attention to the elderly who live alone, in facilities and those with disabilities.
Addressing the handover ceremony, Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA representative in Vietnam, said, “Covid-19 is giving us excruciating challenges by amplifying the vulnerabilities of old people. It is clear that the fatality rate for older people is higher and for those above the age of 80, it is five times higher than the global average. Therefore, older people must be a priority while dealing with Covid-19 to ensure no one is left behind in the humanitarian response as well as in development efforts.”
Pham Thi Hai Ha, deputy director of the Social Protection Department under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, highly appreciated UNFPA's support and affirmed, “Protecting people’s health, particularly healthcare and support for older persons during the Covid-19 pandemic is the top priority of the Government. The protection of health workers and caregivers must also be prioritized as critical and lifesaving and they should be provided with personal protective equipment.”
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