A Swan song from an elder’s home

Elderly COVID-19 patients with no immediate caregivers stranded in elders homes. Mobile vaccination services not reaching the most vulnerable and elderly. Those who are barely able to walk or see or even talk asked to come to vaccine centers. Who will take them? How will they be taken? Where are the needed resources? What is the Governments responsibility towards the elderly of this nation and why is it falling on deaf ears. 

Loved ones are unable to see or pay their respects to those they have lost. Bodies upon bodies pile up. Is no one willing to see the tears? Hear the cries? These are our citizens. But they are being treated like garbage. Why are systems favoring those who have the means and not so for those who don’t?

It is a dangerous domino effect. With no proper systems in place, the countries elderly are easy prey to this ravaging virus. Year after year voices have been raised in concern for those living in elders homes, for those who do not have anyone to call their own. What will happen to them in the light of a national disaster, who will take the responsibility? All of this has fallen on deaf ears.

Now, the elderly are dying without care; dying because hospitals refuse to treat or take them in. Ambulances refuse to be called in. All because the elderly are required to be taken by a relative/ caregiver to the hospitals or care centers. Due to the increase in number of patients hospital staff are unable to attend to feeble individuals therefore a caregiver is called to attend to the patient 24/7. This on  the other hand also  increase the risk of caregivers who are non COVID19, wouldn’t this also contribute towards the raise in number of new cases.

Hospitals, medical staff, health workers who are working 24/7 around the clock, risking their own lives, cannot be held responsible for these lives. Vaccination and care methods carried out by the Sri Lankan Army stand in stark difference when compared with the methods followed by the MOH. This lack of a unified system is straining the COVID response. Much is planned on paper by so little of that is being put into practice.

We need a proper, working plan in place. How many more lives would we lose before a proper structure in place? There are many experts in the field of health sector, community specialists, disaster management, many who have ground level expertise. It’s time to listen. It’s time to learn from each other and act fast.  We need to collaborate with each other. We need to act fast. The government needs to listen. The government needs to be willing to work together. Together we can help the elderly and the vulnerable community of our nation. 

Lasantha de Silva

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