Protective equipment provided to support the elderly against COVID-19

Protective equipment provided to support the elderly against COVID-19The equipment is expected to help ensure good preparedness and an effective response to COVID-19 in the provision of services to older persons in Vietnam. (Photo provided by UNFPA in Vietnam)

NDO – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hygiene items to support caregivers and social care workers providing services to older persons in line with Vietnam’s response to COVID-19.

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At a ceremony held in Hanoi this morning (Jan 14), Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, handed over the equipment to Pham Thi Hai Ha, Deputy Director of the Social Protection Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, as well as representatives from the Vietnam Association of the Elderly and HelpAge International in Vietnam.

Highly appreciating the UNFPA's support, Ha affirmed that protecting people’s health, particularly the elderly, and supporting everyone during the COVID-19 epidemic is the top priority of the Vietnamese Government. “The protection of health workers and caregivers must be also prioritised as critical and lifesaving, and they should be consistently provided with personal protective equipment,” she added.

“COVID-19 is presenting serious challenges and amplifying the vulnerabilities of old people. It is clear that the fatality rate for older people is higher, and for those above age 80, it is five times higher than the global average. Therefore, older people must be a priority in our dealing with COVID-19 to ensure no one is left behind in our humanitarian response as well as in development efforts,” said Kitahara.

While the coronavirus spreads amongst persons of all ages, older persons and those with underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk of developing severe conditions and having higher death rates from COVID-19.

With the number of older persons aged 65 and above accounting for 7.7% of the total population, Vietnam has done an exemplary job thus far in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the UN agency, 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 those elderly living alone, in care facilities, and those with disabilities.

The PPE will be distributed to social protection centres and community caregivers in four localities, namely Hanoi, Hai Duong, Da Nang and Quang Nam, and is aimed at ensuring Vietnam’s continued preparedness and effective response to COVID-19.

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