Continuing its initiative of providing support to the nation in the fight against COVID-19, the Dominica Red Cross Society (DRCS) has made a donation of health and safety starter kits to each centenarian on the island.
The DRCS presented the kits to the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA) on the inaugural centenarian’s day (Sept 23) and included face masks, rubbing alcohol, first aid kits, surface wipes, gloves and toiletries.
Speaking during the short handing over ceremony, president of the DRCS, Reginald Winston, expressed the organization’s delight in partnering with the ministry of health to show their care and concern for the elderly.
“For me, this has personal significance because my own mother died about a year and a half ago and she was 99 years, just a few months short of 100. So I’m particularly pleased to hand this over to you so that you can use it for our centenarians. I wish them a long and happy life with us,” he stated.
Winston revealed that from the onset, the DRCS has been sensitizing the public on the virus, providing assistance through cash and kind to the health centres as well as donating kits to preserve the vaccines.
The DRCS president went on to pledge the organization’s continued support in controlling and defeating this dreaded virus and called on the public to play its part.
“I just want to tell people that we cannot let our guard down. We did that once already, so we have learned the lesson to keep our guards on. We should continue to get vaccinated because vaccination is the only way we can arrest this disease. So I encourage people to get vaccinated and to observe the protocols necessary,” Winston advised.
While thanking the humanitarian organization for their timely donation, President of the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA), Ophelia Marie, pointed out that while testing is being done on many of the seniors on the island, the centenarians have been isolated.
“We have persons in the various fields who have gone even to the homes of our seniors who are not coming to the areas for testing, except for the centenarians; they have been left alone, and they have been telling us to leave them alone because we know how easy it would be for them to catch COVID,” the DCOA president said.
While appealing to their family members to ensure that they are tested and kept safe, Marie also urged those relatives to do their research and allow the centenarians to make their own decisions as it pertains to the vaccines.
“It is because we don’t think that we can make those decisions for them,” she stressed. “That message has gone on also to the other senior citizens within our purview…it is, in fact, worrying to us when we hear that anybody who is 60 or over, is in quarantine or tested positive, and it is happening, and we are praying people, so we pray; we pray hard and we tell them what we know about the immune system so that they take on to natural immunity and try to do the best that they can that way, even if they’re not sick.”
Meanwhile, the DCOA president pointed out that many of the seniors on the island have taken the COVID-19 vaccine and pledged her organization’s support to continue to assist them in the best way possible.