Elie MUGABOWISHEMA, Leader, Nsindagiza, Rwanda

Community health workers mobilised to offer support to older people in their homes

I have chatted with the Minister of State in charge of social affairs, including older people.

I was sharing with her our concerns on the care of older people within the community during this period of the coronavirus pandemic.

I was motivated by the declaration of the Minister of Local Government who recommended special aids for older people and other vulnerable groups during this period.

The minister told me that vulnerable older people will keep receiving direct support in the form of cash transfer and those who receive a pension will continue to receive it, sent to their nearest financial institutions in the community where they live.

In terms of care, the community health workers (CHW) and local leaders are in charge of providing the care the older people may need. This involves regular visits. During the visit the community health workers will be training older people on social distancing.

They will also be taking records of the names and locations where the older people live, their account numbers and telephone numbers.

The community health workers and local leaders have been tasked to assist the older people and have clear instructions to keep social distancing.


Elie Mubabowishema is the founder and president of Nsindagiza. This is an organisation that was started after the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 to support ageing survivors trace their families, mitigate their isolation, neglect and joblessness, as enshrined in the national, regional and international instruments including Universal declaration of human rights.

He has also coordinated the formation of Rwanda national ageing platform called « URUMURI RW’IZABUKURU », Rwanda Leave No One Behind Network and Great Lakes Ageing Network (regional ageing network covering Burundi, Rwanda and DRC).

Read more COVID-19: stories from older people

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