• New resource aims to help parents and caregivers explain ongoing changes due to COVID-19 to children
  • Digital book available in seven languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and Setswana, and free print copies to be distributed by Kolisi Foundation and Transnet

JOHANNESBURG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Roche and the Kolisi Foundation today launched a children’s book, Keto and Zuri Learn about COVID-19, that will help parents and caregivers across Africa explain COVID-19 to children by sharing scientific facts in age-appropriate language. The book is available to download for free on both the Kolisi Foundation and Roche’s websites, and a limited run of free printed copies will be distributed throughout Africa in seven languages.

“We recognize the confusion and concern that children may be facing as a result of the pandemic and the changed behaviors of those around them. Similarly, we know the difficulties many parents and caregivers share in explaining scientific facts and public health policies to their children,” said Bart Vanhauwere, Area Head Africa, Roche. “This book aims to present the realities of COVID-19 in an easily digestible, approachable manner to help children and adults alike understand the changes caused by the pandemic and continue taking action to stay healthy.”

“We often notice that the families we meet need information in addition to more practical support. This is why the Kolisi Foundation is proud to partner on the creation of this book. It helps children understand COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of health and safety behaviours, to protect themselves and their family members and friends. The full-colour illustration is visually appealing and the book is published in multiple languages,” said Valerie Anderson, Kolisi Foundation Operations and Programmes Manager.

In South Africa, Transnet, a 25-year partner of Roche, will be handing out a limited printed supply of the books through the Phelophepa trains. These two trains, of which Roche is the main external sponsor, are free, mobile healthcare clinics that are now dedicated to COVID-19 screening, testing and awareness for people living in rural communities.

The One by One Target Covid Campaign is also a partner of Keto and Zuri Learn about COVID-19. The Campaign is proudly supporting the distribution of the new children’s book in Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To help spread further awareness, they announced the creation of the book to their AfricaCovidChampions, who they brought together in an effort to spread reliable information about COVID-19.

AfricaCovidChampions is a new initiative that includes some of the most prominent African celebrities, media personalities, journalists, and influencers from the sports, entertainment, business, cultural and faith communities. Among many others, these prominent figures include Heritier Wanabe (Musician), Simon Mwewa Lane (TV Show Host), Joseph Kusaga (Media Owner), Jeff Koinange (Journalist/Talk Show Host) and Gift Ali (Ugandan Football player / Sports Personality). These influencers have committed to serve as powerful public health advocates and will help the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reach people with the essential information needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital copies of the children’s book can be downloaded here. It is available in multiple languages, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa Setswana, Portuguese, French: https://www.roche.com/sustainability/philanthropy/covid-19-childrens-book.htm

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2020 employed more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2020, Roche invested CHF 12.2 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 58.3 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.

About the Kolisi Foundation

Founded by Siya and Rachel Kolisi, the Kolisi Foundation has the vision to change the narratives of inequality in South Africa. Seeking to support people living in under-resourced communities in South Africa by providing relief resources, facilitating capacity-building and horizontal learning exchanges, and mobilizing and advocating for systemic change.

Driven by their motto to ‘remember the one, one by one’, the Kolisi Foundation is invested in researching, piloting and developing projects centred around three programmatic areas: Food Security, Gender-Based Violence, and Education and Sports Development.

For more information, please visit www.kolisifoundation.org.


Caitriona Hennessy

Head of Communications, Africa