Government authorities announced at a press conference a series of measures to protect and provide comprehensive care to older adults in the different territories in the face of the emergency that the country is experiencing due to the impact of COVID-19. The measures range from the mental health approach to the care of the health and food services.
Juan Luis Bermúdez Madriz, Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and Executive President of IMAS pointed out that “the Costa Rican Government, as a solidary State, has disposed of a joint work during the last weeks that allows to generate a comprehensive approach and precision health partner to older adult population ”.
In the first instance, regarding metal health, through the toll-free line 1322, care and psychological support will be provided to the elderly, thanks to the joint work with the College of Psychologists.
On the other hand, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) from the Health Services Network Directorate of the Medical Management gives telephone follow-up and accompaniment in territory to the older adult population, according to the priority assigned by social risks, of health and with a focus on rights and human security.
The people designated by the EBAIS (ATAP or another) make a round of calls to older adults from all over the country, prioritized according to risk, in order to know the current situation regarding their health and basic needs. According to CCSS records, telephone monitoring and accompaniment in the territory will be carried out on some 913,509 people over the age of 60, where 76% are between the ages of 60 and 79, that is, 24% are older 80 years.
Once their health situation and socioeconomic status have been identified, several institutions take action. The CCSS brings the medicines to his home, for this purpose the local governments made more than 60 vehicles available, in addition to municipal officials throughout the national territory. The IMAS provides basic needs through the emergency subsidy and the National Emergency Commission (CNE), with the support of the Municipal Committees, brings food to the most vulnerable older adults from the data provided by CONAPAM.
The accompaniment in territory is led by each Municipal Emergency Committee, with the support of the Municipal Management Board made up of the Ministry of Health, the National Emergency Commission, the Institute for Municipal Development and Advice, the National Directorate for the Development of the Community, the National Union of Local Governments, the National Association of Mayors and Municipalities, the Health Areas of the CCSS, the CONAPAM Care Networks and Day Centers that serve older adults, local governments and other community actors identified as allies or volunteers.
In addition, the monitoring and attention of the needs of the elderly beneficiaries of the 54 Elderly Care Networks that exist in the country, the 63 Day Centers and 74 Long Stay Homes that receive public funds are maintained.
For its part, PAHO / WHO will contribute to strengthening the capacities of community-based networks and services, in order to carry out socio-health interventions that offer effective support to the most vulnerable populations, while protecting themselves from the spread of the virus.
In addition, it will promote channels that generate knowledge and good practices so that older people, their families and communities avoid contagion. The support is also aimed at providing preventive support materials such as masks, gloves and personal hygiene and cleaning supplies to families in greatest need.
It works on a communication strategy that aims to sensitize and educate this population about care and self-care in the face of the risk of contagion by COVID-19, as well as the measures of the family, neighbors and the immediate environment of the elderly person, to respond assertively to the emergency.
Since March 16, 2020, after the National Emergency Declaration, a series of technical tables were created to support the Emergency Operations Center (COE) led by the CNE. Through the Social Protection Table, the institutional coordination has been carried out to attend in a timely manner to the elderly population, people with disabilities, population with addiction of psychoactive substances, people living on the street and in palliative care.