We can reduce stigma against persons suffering from Covid-19 and their caregivers by:
- Not attaching Covid-19 to tribe, political grouping, age, race or Socio-economic status.
- Acknowledging people affected by Covid-19 have not done anything wrong and deserve our support and kindness.
- Referring to persons diagnosed with Covid-19 as people who are being treated for Covid-19 or people who are recovering from Covid-19 instead of “Covid-19 cases” or Covid-19 victims” or Covid-19 families”. Being ready to welcome persons who have recovered from Covid-19 back into the community without discrimination.
- Promote and communicate positive messages of hope on COVID-19 prevention, treatment and recovery.
- Being positive, empathetic and avoid spreading misinformation and myths.
- Building trust in reliable and effective healthcare services.
- Develop health care services that are inclusive, promote respect and dignity and are recovery oriented. Clearly communicate and engage communities to adhere to public health intervention without threats and intimidation.
Impact of stigma includes:
- Stigma cause fear and hinder people from adhering to the prevention and control measures.
- Stigma drives people to hide the illness and fail to seek health care services – so as to avoid discrimination.
- Stigma leads to psychological distress and mental health complications.
- Stigma and discrimination undermine social cohesion, promote social isolation and hinder behavioral change.
- Stigma and discrimination lead to violations of people human rights and fundamental freedoms. Stigma interferes with the recovery process and community reintegration.