Brunei has managed COVID-19 well, global panellists told

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam has managed the COVID-19 outbreak situation well, recording one of the world’s lowest infection numbers, thanks to its whole-of-nation approach bringing together the private sector and the community in the fight against the coronavirus.

This was highlighted by demensia Brunei (dB) Honorary Adviser Datin Jacqueline Wong when pointing out the country’s success to global panellists and participants at the recent webinar on ‘The COVID and Ageing Society – Virtual Dialogue Series’ which is a five-part series hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Datin Jacqueline said, “The WEF dialogues are important opportunities for learning and sharing of experiences. Administrations, governments and industries must better understand the issues and challenges of older people, persons with dementia and disabilities and the vulnerable. The pandemic is an opportunity for world leaders and civil society to come together, to recover better, rethink better, and rebuild better.

“I am honoured to be invited to participate and contribute to the dialogue sessions on behalf of demensia Brunei. I am also humbled by the company of global experts, well-known academia and world leaders in these dialogues shaping the global, regional and industry agendas for an improved and inclusive post-Covid-19 world.

“We must ensure the actions to these challenges are included in the response, recovery and mid- and longer-term development plans – in every country. We must continue in the pursuit of the drafting of Brunei’s national dementia action plan and positive outcomes.”

The virtual dialogue series from June 30 to July 28 covered Long-Term Care Facilities, Home and Community-Based Care, Ageism in the time of coronavirus, Impact on Older Adults in Low-and-Middle Income Countries and Converging Pandemics: Loneliness and Isolation.

The discussions contributed to maintaining momentum for action on healthy ageing and longevity agenda. They also drew attention to the understanding and responding to pandemic-related opportunities and challenges for older adults during and after the pandemic.

In one of the virtual dialogues ‘Home and Community-Based Care’, Datin Jacqueline said there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, what home and community-based care looks like differ across cultures.

In countries with no formal systems of community care, for example, they are working to develop practical training to educate family members to deliver care to their loved ones. There is indeed an opportunity here for local solutions to be shared globally, she said.

“In Brunei, dB offers a two-day dementia care skills (DCS) educational and training workshop to support family members, allied health professionals and healthcare workers in delivering person-centred care to their loved ones and patients. Since 2018, dB has trained over 450 participants in DCS workshops.

“dB has given dementia awareness presentations to over 5,000 public service officers and members of the public during educational talks and the International Older Persons Day 2019 Symposium during Bandarku Ceria, presented radio talk shows and roadshows supported by the Health Promotion Centre, Ministry of Health (MoH),” Datin Jacqueline said.