UNFPA provides protective equipment to support older persons in COVID-19 context

The UNFPA Vietnam on Thursday handed over the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hygiene items to support caregivers and social care workers providing services to older persons in Vietnam.

The hand-over ceremony was attended by UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, Naomi Kitahara, Deputy Director of the Social Protection Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Ha, and representatives from the Vietnam Association of the Elderly and HelpAge International in Vietnam.

The PPE will be distributed to social protection centers and community caregivers in high-risk cities and provinces, namely Hanoi, Hai Duong, Da Nang and Quang Nam.

As one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, with the number of older persons aged 65 and above accounting for 7.7 per cent of the total population, Vietnam has done an exemplary job in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic so far. However, at this juncture, 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, those in facilities, and those with disabilities.

“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 age 80, it is five times higher than the global average. Therefore, older people must be a priority in dealing with COVID-19 to ensure no one is left behind in humanitarian response as well as in development effort,” Naomi Kitahara said at the handover ceremony.

Addressing the ceremony, Pham Thi Hai Ha, Deputy Director of the Social Protection Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs highly appreciated UNFPA's support and affirmed that “Protecting people’s health, particularly older persons’ health care and support during the COVID-19 epidemic is the top priority of the Government. The protection of health workers and caregivers must be also prioritised as critical and lifesaving, and they should be provided with personal protective equipment.”

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