India is ‘gasping for breath’
The ‘second wave’ of the Covid-19 pandemic was especially devastating for India. The poor and vulnerable elderly face the highest risk – countless have lost their lives, while many have underlying health challenges and are physically frail with chronic conditions. At such a time, it is critical that they get vaccinated immediately and safeguard themselves and their communities from this deadly disease.
Many disadvantaged elders are starving due to loss of their livelihood or due to loss of an earning family member. The elderly are marginalized, even though they are amongst the worst affected and are simply struggling to survive.
As the pandemic makes deep inroads into rural India, we are taking measures to ensure that the poor elderly and their families are vaccinated and have food to eat as well as access to healthcare, so they can maintain their nutrition and immunity levels. The aim is to reduce elders’ risk levels and susceptibility to the virus, so that they can lead healthy and dignified lives.
HelpAge India is working across the nation to assist and support state and local administrations in facilitating the government’s vaccination drive and providing relief and ration to disadvantaged elders and their communities.
Based on the need assessment on-ground, some of HelpAge India’s relief interventions during the pandemic are:
- Survival Kits providing basic ration and essential items to poor elders and their families. The kit includes items like rice, wheat, spices, cooking oil, soap, detergent along with Immunity boosters such as Zincovit, Vitamin C and Basic Screening Tools such as Finger Pulse Oximeter and infrared Thermometer.
- Covid Protection Hygiene Kits which include soaps, detergents, high quality reusable face masks.
- Vaccination Facilitation of elder beneficiaries from HelpAge supported Elder-Self-Help-Groups, Mobile Healthcare program and Senior Citizens Association members. This includes vaccination awareness drives, helping elders with the registration process and transportation of elders to vaccination centers.
- Online Digital Literacy Training Workshops for Vaccine registration for elders and tackling misinformation.
- Essential Medical support through its vast national network of 170 plus Mobile Healthcare Units, providing free medicines & treatment, to poor elders & their community in rural areas and slums. This is critical, as most elders are chronic patients suffering from hyper tension, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis etc, and cannot afford to pay for their medicines, many are physically frail or bed-ridden, and cannot walk to the nearest hospital or PHC. These MHUs provide free medicines and treatment virtually to the doorstep.
- HelpAge’s National Elders Helpline (1800-180-1253) active across 21 states in India, is providing much needed assistance to elders in need, those abandoned who are often in need of medication, shelter, hospitalization and other support.
- HelpAge Old Age Homes – residents are being provided basic essentials such as food, medical aid and help with vaccination during this time. Regular health check-ups are conducted to ensure their health and safety.
The need on-ground is immense. Your contribution can bring hope to an elder person and enable them to survive during this uncertain time.