“We have been abandoned and neglected since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Liberia and I wonder why will Government of Liberia(GoL) is insensitive to our plights at this crucial time when more of our members are dying from COVID-19 than any other group of people,” Bainda, who is the Executive Director of the National Old Folks of Liberia, asserted.
According to him, the situation is alarming and called for swift intervention from the GoL and other humanitarian and philanthropist bodies to come to their rescue.
In an interview with our reporter, he stressed that prior to the COVID-19 crisis, his members used to be well taken care of, but not until now, as going to bed without a meal a day, lack of medical care and many others are now greatly affecting the group.
He recalled that since the establishment of the group on August 23, 2014 under the general umbrella of the Coalition of Caregivers and Advocates for the Elderly, this is the very first time they are experiencing more pressure from their members due to the lack of care and the provision of essential goods and services for them.
Narrating their condition due to the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on them in a sad mood, Bainda lamented that it is unfortunate to see many of their members leaving the old folk homes for the streets as well as in other communities at the detriment of their just to beg for a little meal a day.
“I feel so bad and hurt when I see our senior citizens helplessly trooped at the Vamoma House Junction, many of whom, are females, begging for handouts,” the old folks activist further lamented.
He said it is even worrisome at this COVID-19 crisis without observing the social distancing and being accompanied by their grandchildren and other family members and seen at various junctions and even between cars all in such of their daily bread.
Bainda disclosed that the umbrella group comprises of over 18 different bodies and has been greeted with multiple promises relative to assisting them in these difficult crisis times, but to no avail.
“Someone needs to see reason and help the senior citizens who once contributed in different ways to their mother land Liberia,” Bainda added.
He named food items, medication with emphasis on folic acid and pressure medicine, pension incentives and many others as current and essential needs that will help in the rescue of thousands of his members.
Speaking further, he stated that their challenges are enormous but can be fully addressed once members of the National Legislature see the need to pass the old folks bill into Law.
The bill sponsored by Montserrado County District 11 Representative, Richard Koon, captures all of the different issues confronting the wellbeing of senior citizens of Liberia and if enacted into Law will be a new day for the sector.
“Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, about 47 Representatives signed the bill, but efforts leading to the complete legislative practice was stalled due to multiple protests by some Liberians and other political and economic competing priority issues all overshadowed our endeavor and of late the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bainda historicized.
Though Liberia has a dominant youthful population, the welfare of the older folks of the country, which has been to some extent downplayed or overlooked, should now claim the attention of national government and other well-meaning groups, especially at a time when the global pandemic is ragging war, claiming lives across the globe of which Liberia is of no exception.
Bainda re-echoed that caring for old folks at this crucial time is very important and should be a priority for duty bearers.
Meanwhile, the vulnerable group, the Coalition of Caregivers and Advocates for the Elder has a membership base of about 30,000 people, many of whom are women and according to Bainda.