A total of 12,802 older persons have been tested for COVID 19 since 1st May 2020 to date, the Ministry of Health has revealed.
Of these, 345 cases were positive indicating an infection rate of 2.69% of the overall COVID 19 infections in Uganda. Meanwhile, 14 older persons have also succumbed to the pandemic which represents about 9% of the total deaths so far.
The Ministry says that while this percentage may seem low, it should be noted that many older persons have poor health seeking behaviors because they assume that they are suffering from old age, therefore there may be more cases that may go unreported.
The statistics were shared ahead of tomorrow 1st October’s celebration of International Day for Older Persons. This year, the day will be commemorated under the theme “Upholding the Rights of Older Persons during COVID 19 Pandemic: A Call for Action.”
The theme according to Sarah Kanyike the Minister of State in charge of Persons with Disabilities, provides an opportunity for government and stakeholders to reflect on the rights and needs of older persons as we respond to the Covid19 pandemic.
The events tomorrow, will be scientific in nature due to COVID 19 Pandemic and the day will be commemorated at State House Entebbe with H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda as Chief Guest.
Kanyike says that as government makes efforts to combat the pandemic, Ugandans should be mindful of the extent to which the older persons have greatly been affected.
“This is because, many older persons have several underlying health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cardiac, renal, and respiratory problems among others that are common in old age.
They have experienced difficulties in accessing health care and basic needs such as food. This coupled with social distancing restrictions have left majority of these groups more at risks of increased health complication, isolation, lack of material and social support” she noted.
The minister further explained that the burden on older people has been intensified by the lockdown, as children under their care are now at home following closure of schools to avert the infection. Older persons are therefore challenged with having enough food for their grandchildren as well as to access learning materials and supervise the learning due to their low literacy levels.