Guide to address stigma associated with COVID-19
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a guide to address stigma associated with COVID-19.
COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that is causing a stressful and a difficult time for everyone.
During this crisis, rumours and misinformation create more stress and can hamper COVID-19 recovery.
Why is there Stigma?
Stigma associated with COVID-19 is based on three main factors:
- Lack of adequate information
- Fear of the disease
- Rumours or misinformation
People facing Stigma and Discrimination:
- People detected with COVID-19, their families /caregivers / friends
- People under quarantine and their families
- Frontline health care providers like doctors, nurses, paramedics, eld workers, hospital sta and sanitation workers etc.
- Those who have recovered from COVID-19
- Migrant workers
Effects of Stigma and Discrimination:
- People concealing symptoms
- Hesitancy in seeking medical care
- People not adhering to interventions like home quarantine
- Increased sense of emotional isolation, feeling of guilt and anxiety
- Lack of self-esteem and confidence
- Ostracisation of healthcare workers and others involved in COVID-19 management
- Worsening of pre-existing psychiatric illness such as depression
These may lead to
- COVID-19 cases not being reported, or reported late, making management of the outbreak more difficult.
- Diversion from the required preventive measures which need to be undertaken.
Things to know about COVID-19:
- Although COVID-19 is highly contagious, we can protect ourselves by following preventive measures such as physical distancing, washing hands frequently and wearing a face cover / mask.
- Despite precautions, if a person contracts COVID-19, it is not his/her fault. Anyone is susceptible to contracting the disease, no one needs to be blamed.
- In situations of distress, the patient and the family need support and cooperation.
- Be a well-wisher to those in isolation/ quarantine and their families. Testing, isolation and quarantine are meant to protect the family and community.
- Celebrate persons who have recovered from COVID-19 as WINNERS. They do not have the virus & there is no risk of transmission.
Tips to reduce stigma related to COVID-19:
- Be appreciative and supportive of efforts made by frontline workers
- Verify the information from a reliable source such as Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s website, before sharing or forwarding the same
- Share positive stories of those who have recovered from COVID-19
- Don’t spread name, identity, locality of persons affected or under quarantine
- Don’t spread misinformation
- Don’t label any individual, group or area for spread of COVID-19
Source : Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Last Modified : 6/18/2021
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