Social protection responses to COVID-19: Actions that can make a difference for older people


Women and men of all ages with chronic health conditions have a higher risk of serious impacts from the virus. These conditions are most prevalent in older people, however, and together with frailty put them at greater risk of having severe complications due to the virus. This means that older people are the most likely to become seriously ill or to die from the virus.

It is therefore essential that preparation for and response to the COVID-19 pandemic explicitly addresses the heightened risk of the disease for all older people. 

As the virus spreads across the globe, there are growing concerns about the potential for widespread outbreaks in low- and middle- income countries, particularly in contexts where already weak health systems are ill-equipped to cope.  

As governments and partners are scaling-up their responses, existing guidance, planning, and implementation often do not sufficiently capture the risks and challenges faced by older people in the context of COVID-19. 

The webinar has attempted to fill these knowledge gaps, focusing on social protection and health care in lower- and middle-income countries. 

Speakers presented concrete guidelines on how Governments can minimize the risk of infection for older people during manual pension payments while continuing to ensure the income security of older people and their dependents in this crisis. Linking social protection and health, simple approaches were discussed on how Government, partners and older people themselves can reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 and manage symptoms.


Gabrielle Kelly, Senior Research Associate, Samson Institute for Ageing Research (SIFAR)

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Professor of Social Policy and International Development, University of East Anglia


Cecilia Mbaka, Head of National Social Protection Secretariat, Kenya's State Department of Social Protection 


Florian Juergens, Global Advisor - Social Protection, HelpAge International


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This was the third webinar of the “Social protection responses to COVID-19” webinar series. The series is a joint effort initiated by the IPC-IGGIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Australia Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collaboration with the platform, and in cooperation with partners from different organisations. Join our online community ''Social protection responses to COVID-19 [Task force]'' to learn more about the initiative and the future webinars.