Liberia Vice President creates Covid-19 awareness using storytelling

Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor with the book and some children at her office

Vice President of Liberia, Chief Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor, has enhanced her commitment in creating awareness on the novel coronavirus pandemic that is plaguing the world.

In her recent awareness campaign, Dr. Howard-Taylor used a story telling book titled “The Unwelcome Stranger” to create the awareness. The video which has since gone viral on social media has the venerable Vice President reading the book and explaining its content to some children.

Covid-19 and children

The Unwelcome Stranger, written by three enterprising young people, Andrews, Fernandez and Diana talks about Covid-19 and its impacts on families. The book talks about the history and the discovery of Covid 19 and how it has created isolation of families; affecting social life and interactions.

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Dr Howard-Taylor explained that the book narrates the state of mind of children as they observe their parents cope with the emergence and impact of Covid-19. It recalls that children are often innocent and concerned about the sudden change in the routines at home, the closure of schools and mosques, the staying at home, constant washing of hands and the rationing of meals.

She explained that the change in the routines often create questions in the mind of children and may cause trauma. According to the Vice President, the unwelcome stranger is not a person or an animal; it is a thing (Virus) which was never expected or welcomed by human beings. She asserted in her narrative to the children that the unwelcome stranger has been around before and will continue to be around pointing out that the current unwelcome stranger is invisible and unknown and comes with fear.

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The book highlights social distancing and washing of hands as key preventive measures against the unwelcome stranger (COVID 19). She encouraged children to continue learning and reading other materials while at home as the world fights the global pandemic.

Dr Howard-Taylor who is noted for having an unquestionable passion for empowering children explained to them some symptoms of the disease such as flu adding that but this spread very quickly.

The Vice President, owner of Jewel Starfish Foundation, as part of her desire to empower children currently caters for more than 1000 children.

Liberia’s case

Liberia recorded its first case on March 16, after a government official who traveled from Switzerland tested positive. The country reported its first death on April 4. On April 7, President George Weah appointed a new National Response Coordinator for the Executive Committee on Coronavirus and declared lock-down measures on April 8, including suspension of all non-essential travel and curfews. Schools were closed across the country, and churches, mosques, bars, and beaches in parts of the country.

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On April 21, Liberia’s legislature wrote a resolution requiring the public to wear masks in public. The country now has 199 positive cases with 20 deaths and 79 recoveries.


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