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Access of senior citizens to healthcare during state of emergency limited

Senior citizens’ access to health services during the state of emergency and emergency situation was limited in Kyrgyzstan. Results of the study Observance of Social and Economic Rights amid Coronavirus Epidemic in the Kyrgyz Republic say.

According to the study, senior citizens, being a category at risk of contracting COVID-19, were limited in access to health services for both the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and the underlying diseases. This especially affected the elderly living alone.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 increases with age, mainly among people over 50 years old.

«Elderly citizens with chronic diseases did not have an opportunity to visit a Family Medicine Center, receive inpatient treatment, even in conditions of urgent need. When trying to call a doctor, to make an appointment with a doctor or undergo an examination, senior citizens were advised not to visit medical facilities due to the threat of contracting COVID-19. Doctors did not make home visits to senior citizens, did not conduct telephone consultations,» the analysis says.

The elderly could not be examined, tested, and consulted on treatment. During the period of state of emergency, relatives could not get to their elderly relatives, bring them the necessary medicines. As a result, physical condition of many of them has deteriorated.

I live alone. My condition was unbearable. I could not go to the polyclinic to turn to a doctor, to take tests. I was immediately told that the elderly were at risk, and they do not receive people like me. The doctors could have consulted at least by phone, but they had no time for the old people.

From a survey interview. Woman, 80. Bishkek

Situation of an elderly 80-year-old woman, who had two strokes, was also cited as example. «She had to undergo preventive treatment at the hospital. She was refused admission, explaining that patients with COVID-19 only were served. Although she took the drugs prescribed to her before the state of emergency and emergency situation, but due to the fact that she could not undergo rehabilitation on time, her condition worsened,» the study says.

The study was conducted by the Association of NGOs for the Promotion of the Rights and Interests of Children in the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan.

The study was carried out in the period from June 16 to July 22, 2020 in several stages.