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About 200 older persons will be phoned by 15 young volunteers of Youth Centers and National Network of Local Youth Councils of Moldova. This initiative was started in order to offer emotional support to solitary persons above 65 years of age from 16 communities.

The young people were trained by an epidemiologist and communication expert how to talk to the older persons by phone in order to inform them about measures of protection against COVID-19 and how to provide emotional support during the social isolation period. 

In this way the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MHLSP) are fostering social cohesion and inter-generational dialogue in the context of COVID-19 pandemics.

Dorina Pogreban, resident epidemiologist at the National Agency for Public Health stresses that the older people are the most vulnerable and affected the worst by COVID-19 and urges us to talk to them and recommend that they avoid crowed places and direct contacts with other people. She also explained to young volunteers how one can get infected with COVID-19 and how to prevent it, as well as how to wear a mask correctly.

‘As a protection measure, I recommend to inform the older that crowded places, such as a postal office or a store, pose high risks of getting the virus and to encourage them to seek the help of their neighbours or relatives, but avoiding any direct contact with them. If they still need to go out, to maintain at least one metre distance and wash their hands well with soap when returning back home. If they have any symptoms of illness, to contact the family doctor or call the emergency service 112’, recommends the doctor.

Zinaida Soroceanu, communication expert, chair of ‘Didactica Aplicată’ NGO explained to young people how to address the older when calling them by phone in order to maintain a good dialogue. ‘We need to be patient when discussing with older people, talking to them with the same pace and tone. When an old person tells you something, get involved and ask for details: if she tells you she is crocheting, ask what she is working on now, if he tells you he is looking through the window, ask him what he likes to see the most. Do not ask for any negative details and do not make promises that you will not be able to keep’, recommends the communication expert.

The older persons involved in this project supported by UNFPA and MHLSP have recently received packages with food and basic hygienic products, as well as information materials about measures of protection against COVID-19. A number of 300 persons over 65 years of age from 16 target communities from the districts of Sângerei, Rezina, Telenești and Șoldănești enjoyed the support.

Contact person:

Diana Lungu, Communication Consultant, UNFPA Moldova