HAILAKANDI: Under the Surakshit Senior Citizens' Abhiyaan, the Hailakandi district administration in association with Piramal Foundation reached out to the senior citizens and elderly during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Program Manager, Piramal Foundation said the organization in league with the district administration reached out to the elderly in distress through its 310 volunteers over the past several days. 689 calls were made to the elderly and to those whose children are stuck in different parts of the country. "We connected with the elderly and vulnerable sections of society through our volunteers during the lockdown. I made video calls with the help of our volunteers and assured them of all possible help and support to ensure their well being and safety," said Reddy, adding that this medium turned out to be very successful.
A case study made by Piramal Foundation brought to the fore interesting facts. It was found that 70% of the senior citizens were aware of COVID-19 causes and symptoms. 69% senior citizens adopted precautionary measures like wearing face masks, hand washing for 20 seconds, maintaining 6 feet social distancing, etc.
"India's mortality rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been limited to 3.3% so far. With more than 1,200 deaths across all age groups, the mortality rate has been as high as 75.3% in people aged 60 and above," said Reddy, adding that the elderly are most vulnerable to the contagion and need constant support to access resources and maintain mental health.
It is against this backdrop, the administration is currently undertaking every possible measure to prevent further outbreak of COVID-19 in the district while ensuring the emotional well-being of the people, particularly the senior citizens.
"Under the Surakshit Senior Citizens' Abhiyaan, ensuring senior citizens' emotional well being as it's core objective, Piramal Foundation's virtual field support team calls and shares the message of the district administration. As the secondary objective, the health department is also smartly equipped to support the senior citizens and anyone else who may contract the virus. The tertiary objective the campaign serves is to build confidence in the district administration and district health services to ensure senior citizens are able to fall back upon during their time of need"', added Reddy.
Reddy said Piramal Foundation's virtual field support agents calling senior citizens to enquire about their health status has lead to the creation of a database of people suffering from chronic diseases and ensures their medicines and other needs are provided. "In addition to the support provided, the team also builds awareness on COVID-19, how it spreads, what are the symptoms, district helpline numbers, and preventive measures people need to follow. Further, senior citizens record their grievances through these calls which are then shared with the concerned departments for necessary action," he quipped.
While senior citizens were largely adhering to the lockdown guidelines following the directives of the district administration, the outreach and the resulting positive feedback keeps the administration, Piramal Foundation's team, and the senior citizens motivated in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Reddy informed that 64% of senior citizens were overwhelmingly happy that the district reached out to them during the lockdown. An elderly, Kaushik Bhattacharjee said, "Feeling happy that our district administration is taking special care of senior citizens and inquiring about our well being". Kaushik expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Deputy Commissioner, Keerthi Jalli, for initiating this laudable outreach program during the time of lockdown.