The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) says stigmatizing persons affected or infected with the coronavirus disease has a tendency to lower one’s self esteem and cause mental health problems.
“Stigmatizing COVID-19 patients and their relatives would not only prevent them from sharing their experience in the fight against the disease, but would scare people with its symptoms from seeking health care because stigma lowers people’s self-esteem, so please desist from it.”
Mr Daniel Baya Laar, the Bawku Municipal Director of NCCE, who spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Bawku, said negative attitudes such as name calling, ridiculing, stereotyping and insinuations among others made people affected by the virus feel inferior and that was a major hindrance to the efforts against the spread of the virus.
He therefore advised members of the public to desist from stigmatizing patients of COVID-19 and rather be sympathetic and caring, as that would encourage them to seek medical care early and be cured.
The Municipal Director said the coronavirus disease was fast spreading and as such the NCCE had intensified its sensitization programme across the length and breadth of the Municipality, covering over 60 activities within the second quarter of 2020.
“We have covered over 60 activities for the second quarter on the coronavirus public education within the Municipality, on the laid down protocols by health experts and the directives of the government as well as stigmatization against COVID-19 patients.
“The announcement, which was done on the street and various communities within the Municipality reminded the people that coronavirus is real.
The people were advised to wash their hands regularly with soap under running water, observe social distancing, rub hands with alcohol based hand sanitizer and wear nose mask at all times,” he stated.
Mr Laar, said the various restrictions and protocols set out by government and health professionals were for the good of the people and it was imperative for everyone to strictly adhere to the protocols and practice personal hygiene to protect themselves from getting infected.
He said during the public education, the Commission observed that most of the registration and distribution centers of the Ghana card within the Municipality were not observing the protocols.
“Almost all the centers visited were not observing the social distancing protocol and just a few were wearing nose masks and a few of the centers had veronica buckets, hand sanitizers and thermometer guns,” he added.
He, however, indicated that due to the consistent sensitization by NCCE, many people were beginning to realize the threat of the virus and were gradually adhering to the protocols such as wearing of nose masks among others.