The equipment handover ceremony in Hanoi on January 14 (Photo: VNA)
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) handed over COVID-19 personal protective equipment meant to support the elderly to the Social Protection Department under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs in Hanoi on January 14.
The supplies include gloves, face masks, anti-droplet face shields, thermometers, and hand sanitizer worth 30,000 USD.
They 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.
At the handover ceremony, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara said the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying the vulnerability of the elderly, and 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, elderly 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 efforts, she added.
Appreciating the UNFPA support for the elderly in Vietnam, Deputy Director of the Social Protection Department Pham Thi Hai Ha said ensuring people’s health, especially providing essential health care support and services for the elderly is one of the top priorities of the Vietnamese Government.
The protection of health for medical workers and caregivers of older people also requires due attention, so they also need sufficient personal protective gear.
According to the UNFPA, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the elderly since they and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to virus infection and have higher fatality rates.
Older persons living in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, must be fully protected from infection and adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Those living alone may face barriers to obtaining accurate information, food, medication, and other essential supplies during quarantine period.
Despite fast population aging and the number of people aged 65 and above making up 7.7 percent of the population, Vietnam is still one of the few countries effectively responding to the pandemic. To sustain this achievement, it should prepare all conditions necessary for ensuring social security and nursing services for the elderly, especially the ones living alone, at care centers, and with disabilities, the UNFPA said.VNA