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Older persons and WASH response during COVID-19 - May 2020

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Older Persons are worldwide the most vulnerable group to COVID-19 disease.
At Cox's Bazar level, multiple researches below mentioned, report that often the older persons encounter difficulties during referral to health centres because of physical and administrative barriers, or fear of social stigma, among others. Older persons, especially women, do not fully understand the information regarding COVID-19 due to reduced exposure to mass media and awareness raising initiatives and, as such, apply less the preventive hygiene/social measures.
When it comes to WASH, especially if not supported by other family members or if caregivers get sick, elderly encounter more difficulties in accessing basic services, like getting enough water to cover all their needs, accessing distribution sites and so on. Older persons with disabilities are at even higher risk of experiencing difficulties in accessing humanitarian assistance.

The WASH response should contribute mitigating the risk of exposure to the virus within the elderly population, making sure the basic concepts of COVID-19 transmission and prevention are well understood by everyone. Moreover, supportive community-based measures have to be put in place to protect elderly in accessing WASH services and helping them to reduce their movement.
Lastly, hygiene promotion should prevent and advocate against stigmatization of elderly women and men and any other vulnerable individual.

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