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Government to develop Coronavirus messages for older persons

The State Department for Labour and Social Protection will work with the Ministry of Health to develop, consolidate and disseminate information and key messages focusing on older people and Covid-19.

According to the HelpAge International Kenya Country Programme Coordinator Mr. Erastus Maina, the older people have weaker immune systems and an increased vulnerability to communicable disease, thus the need for that population segment to be provided with adequate information to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“This age group has higher likelihood of having other underlying health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, lung and kidney diseases, making them the most risky population,” he said.

In a press statement to the media Wednesday, Maina said the messages will touch on how the disease is spread, what they can do to reduce their risk of catching the virus and how they can access medical help or support when in need, as well as emphasis on the need for hand washing, avoiding large gatherings of people and staying away from people who are ill.

Cross-sectional data analysis from China has shown the correlation between COVID-19 mortality and age, indicating that the mortality rate for age 60-69 is at 3.6 percent, that for age 70-79, is at 8 percent while for age 80 and above is at 15 percent.

“Older people and those with other health conditions, particularly hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases, are more likely to become more seriously ill with COVID-19, we advise them to take care of their general health,” he stressed.

 Maina said Kenyans have learnt the lessons and experiences from majority of the 160 countries that have been hit by COVID-19, which are alarming and have a huge impact on a population segment, an issue he said calls for the institutions mandated to take care of the welfare and rights of the older people to act so that they may not feel neglected.

“As a key stakeholder in the aging sector, the Ministry of Health and HelpAge International will be blamed for the omission and doing an injustice to the older members of society if we fail to provide the needed information on the disease,” said the coordinator.

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