Ethiopia: Curbing Senior Citizens' Challenges During Covid-19

The Coronavirus pandemic still remains to be a huge threat for senior citizens across the world. In a research conducted on more than 44 thousand COVID-19 patients in China, around 2.3 percent of the death rate was on the patients between the age of 70-79, and eight percent was on those above the age of 80 while the death rate was 15 percent when the age increased.

It comes as no surprise that the pandemic has hugely impacted countries with low or medium income, less health extension services as well as holds refugee camps with large number of displaced persons.

While older persons have the capacity to maintain the continuity of tradition and culture of the society as well as can contribute to the development of the country, ironically, policy makers, media and the society have been considering senior citizens especially those who are above the age of 70 as if they are unable to decide for themselves and take them as 'good for nothing'.

Few individuals, television programs and advertisements even health professionals have unpleasant and biased views for older persons considering them as weak, unable to survive and mentally unstable, which is totally wrong and culturally, morally and legally offensive.

During the COVID 19, the pressure and violence that has happened on senior citizens is largely increasing. The argument raised up whether ventilators should be given to them or young patients while in intensive care units is best example in this regard. Age restriction was set in few countries; and Italy and Spain were amongst the countries which age restriction was an issue.

However, forbidding a person from getting medical treatment based on some type of aspects, such as age favoritism, is a wrong act that cannot be justified at any rate be it morally, ethically, culturally, professionally or spiritually.

It is important to note that elderly persons should get the necessary advices and supports along with the precautious measures that have been put in place by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to HelpAge International Organization, having regular communication and exchange of information with senior citizens have a significant role in reducing the prevalence rate of the disease. This is because that illiteracy rate, language constraint and physical disability could highly influence their accessibility to information. Therefore, it is important disseminate important information in a way they can easily grasp the message.

Similarly, it is important to take special care and implement various actions so as protect this segment of the society. For instance, providing sanitizers and spray disinfectants in areas with less water accessibility is vital. Moreover, it is essential to make the necessary supplies and support available for the senior citizens who are staying under quarantines (isolating center).

Charity organization and the government have to address the problem of displaced seniors through their risk management budgets. The health centers, on the other hand, should take good care of the senior citizens and strive to provide quality healthcare services as much as possible, as to the organization.

More frequently, elderly persons seem to be forgotten during developmental and charity fund raising movements. However, through identifying vulnerable older persons, concerned institutions have to involve and make them beneficiaries of the programs.

According to a recent report presented by the Addis Ababa Health Bureau, following the misinformation disseminated regarding the Coronavirus vaccination, the number of senior citizens who took the vaccination to this point is not at the expected level. To curb such types of challenges, information should be transferred in more detailed manner and in a way that the senior citizens would easily receive and understand it.

Getachew Bedane, State Minister of Labor and Social Affairs also said that this global pandemic has been affecting the global communities severely by causing psychological threat and taking many lives. To save the lives of senior citizens from the invisible hands of the pandemic and curb the spread of the virus before it gets out of hand, utmost efforts should be exerted, particularity in helping them to take the inoculation.

According to him, since the first case of Coronavirus was detected in Ethiopia, his Ministry has been working determinedly to contain the spread of the virus and secure the lives of elders. He also pledged to step up efforts and expressed his office's readiness and commitment in working jointly with pertinent bodies until the pandemic is contained.

The State Minister also urged everyone to join hands so as to protect the senior citizens from severe crisis as well as assist them to understand the importance of the vaccination to close the information gap that is holding them back from taking the vaccination.

Appreciating the unwavering effort that health professionals are putting towards performing their duties and discharging their responsibilities across the nation, the State Minister requested them to enhance their efforts so that they could save the lives of elderly persons as well as other vulnerable citizens.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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