Published : 2020-09-01

Impact of COVID-19 on Older People in Liberia

Sam Togba Slewion


Social policy development in Liberia falls short in representing the voices of the country's 180,000 people 65+ in determining policies aimed at enhancing their quality of life. There are a lack of legislation and a national social protection policy for older people's rights, including housing, health care, and transportation which may enhance exclusion practices of the elderly. The continued neglect of older people in Liberia did manifest significantly during the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country in 2014, which claimed the lives of over 4,800 persons and over 10,000 Ebola-infected persons (Slewion, 2015). The Government's National Ebola Response Policy specifically mentioned women and children as the vulnerable groups amid the health crisis. Meanwhile, older people referred to as the most "vulnerable of the vulnerable" social groups were not mentioned. Now when the government appoints national structures and mechanisms to respond to the prevailing global pandemic manifested by the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, we witness the same situation. Data were collected and reviewed based on Personal Social and Home Assessments of 200 Older People, as part of a national Older People Stay-At-Home Campaign launched on May 15, 2020, and being implemented by the Coalition of Caregivers and Advocates for the Elderly in Liberia (COCAEL). Preliminary findings suggest, among others, that there is continued neglect and marginalization of older people in Liberia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has no global action plan on ensuring the older persons' safety and needs in Covid-19 pandemia. Due to the lack of elderly empowerment in Liberia through social protection programs, the seniors' quality of life remains low or even worsens because of a higher risk of serious illness of Covid-19 and poverty.


COVID-19 Impact, older adults, barriers, Liberia





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Sam Togba Slewion. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on Older People in Liberia . Exlibris Social Gerontology Journal, 18(1), 115–122.

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