Rwanda – August 2020: COVID-19 rapid needs assessment of older people

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In Rwanda, due in part to effective early government interventions, reported deaths and cases from COVID-19 remain relatively low. However, the impact on older people of the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has been considerable. Therefore, to help evaluate the needs of older people during this unprecedented time and prepare for a potential increase in cases and deaths from COVID-19, Nsindagiza Organisation, with support from HelpAge, undertook a multi-sector Rapid Needs Assessment.

Key findings

  • 60% of older people interviewed do not know where their nearest health facility, which is testing for or treating COVID-19, is.

  • 51% of older people interviewed consider radio to be the most effective channel of communication for COVID-19 health messaging. This is followed by loudspeakers (24%) and via the TV (14%).

  • Only 12% of older people interviewed have not had to change their diet since the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, many older people have had to reduce the quality or the quantity of their food.

  • When asked what they feel older people are at an increased risk of during the pandemic, respondents identified the top risk for both men and women as neglect. This was followed by isolation for older women and financial abuse for older men.

  • 77% of respondents are unable to cope with their current situation without support.