Cushioning senior citizens against effects of pandemic
Milliam Murigi @millymur1
Though Covid-19 has brought with it many challenges, Lucy Njoki, from County Trackers Foundation, says there are some positives.
Njoki says since the outbreak of Covid-19, the governments both county and national as well as non-government organisations have followed up on senior citizens’ welfare and giving them money to sustain them during the countrywide lockdown.
Some of those who had not registered for Inua Jamii Cash Transfer Programme were also traced and started receiving the government fund as well.
“This was a positive move because it ensured that all elderly have something to eat.
If no such initiative was there, I am sure a good number of senior citizens would have been greatly affected by the pandemic,” she says.
In April alone, more than Sh1 million Inua Jamii beneficiaries received Sh8,000 each from the State to cushion them against the effects of the coronavirus.
The money was to cover for the months of January, February, and March, which they hadn’t received.
An additional of Sh500 million was also set aside to clear arrears to persons with disabilities and the elderly.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (Unidop).
This year has also seen an emergence of Covid-19, that has caused an upheaval across the world.
The theme for this year is, Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?
Unidop says considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as Covid-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs.
And to ensure that future pandemics don’t affect how as a country we handle senior citizens, Lucy says that there is a need for empowering groups and organisations that deal with the welfare of senior citizens by enrolling them for training on how they can handle crisis situations and ensure there is calm within their beneficiaries.
Apart from that, the government should ensure that all senior citizens eligible for the government token are all registered for the programmes.
“The government also needs to provide safe houses for senior citizens since some of them have been neglected by family and end up sleeping on the streets,” she notes.
Her advice to the elderly on how they should respond to pandemics now and in the future is that they should always follow guidelines placed by the government and the World Health Organisation and always ensure that they have proper sanitation at home and away from home.
“There is also a need for the society to be educated on the severity of a pandemic and spreading a message of calm and peace to avoid panic within the community as well as awareness creation of the stigma that may follow when one is diagnosed,” she adds.
County Trackers Foundation is a Community Based organisation, which entirely serves the mission of helping the community in terms of safeguarding the rights of senior citizens above 70 years in Kenya with a vision of removing disquiet and put a smile in their faces through a feeding programme.