Creator: Austin Awadzi
The Current Situation:
The most intractable problem facing Older Persons in Uganda including those supported by ROTOM is malnutrition. This is caused by lack of enough nutritious food. This has been worsened by the current dilemma of coronavirus (COVID-19). Lack of nutritious food among older persons causes starvation and poor health which can eventually lead to death. Most of the older persons supported by ROTOM depended on subsistence peasant farming for their survival. With old age (average age of ROTOM supported seniors is currently 78 years), many of the seniors are sickly, weak and frail. 56% have visual impairments while 36% have physical disabilities. They are no longer able to participate in this manual and tedious farming. For some who are able to farm, they can only do so little leading to a low food production that limits their access to food to only what they are able to produce. As a result, they either depend on ROTOM, a friend/family member with a job in the city or neighbors.
With the current outbreak of COVID-19 and resultant lockdown, even these neighbors and friends have no income and food to share. The COVID-19 situation has affected everyone. Moreover, for the few older persons whom have children and grandchildren that were able to support with food, those children and grandchildren have lost their jobs due to the nationwide lockdown which has greatly affected their sources of income. This has increased the need for food among ROTOM supported seniors and their families.
A survey recently carried out by ROTOM among 378 ROTOM supported older persons, showed that without ROTOM support, 48% would have one meal or no meal a day. Only 33% would have 2 or 3 meals a day. With the support of ROTOM, the number of those who have at least 2 meals a day, has increased to 90%. Only 10% have 1 meal a day.
For older persons to live with dignity, they need to have at least 2 meals per day. To achieve this, ROTOM needs to sustain the current food support to the 48% perc