Rajasthan, India – August 2020: COVID-19 rapid needs assessment of older people

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Since the outbreak, India has experienced 18,55,745 cases and 38,938 deaths from COVID-19. Similarly, in Rajasthan, there are 45,555 cases reported and 719 deaths from COVID-19 (04/08/20). Although restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 are being reduced, there are likely to be significant economic and social repercussions facing India’s population, particularly older people.

Furthermore, cases and deaths in India are rising rapidly. Movement restrictions have also impacted the ability of humanitarian actors to provide relief to those most at risk. However, Rajasthan is among the states of the country which have conducted the highest number of tests and its number of tests per capita is higher than the national average. A two-pronged strategy of aggressive testing and screening the elderly as part of a special campaign has seen Rajasthan report the highest recovery rate (79%) for COVID-19 patients among the 10 states with the most cases in India.

To be able to adapt its programming and provide advocacy messages to humanitarian partners and government, HelpAge, in collaboration with GRAVIS, undertook a multi-sector Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA) in India in May 2020 to provide a snapshot of the needs of older people. The sample size of this assessment was 88 older people based in Rajasthan.

Key findings

  • 60% of older people cannot access medication for their health conditions.

  • 77% of older people have experienced changes in their access to health services.

  • 55% of older people cannot afford PPE.

  • 44% of older people have difficulties accessing food.

  • 89% of older people stated that availability of food is a top concern.

  • 76% of older people are worried most or all the time.

  • 40% of older people feel depressed most or all the time.

  • 61% of older people reported that they did not have enough WASH facilities in their area and/or were constrained to access them due to movement restrictions.

  • 71% older women reported that they did not have enough WASH facilities in their area and/or were constrained to access them