By NtuNews Reporter
Stigma by definition is a “mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person” as displayed by others towards the individual. The expression of stigma towards clinical conditions and those who suffer from such conditions has been mainly influenced by lack of knowledge/information as well as ignorance.
Covid 19 pandemic has been labelled as a new phenomenon even in medical circles with its presentation constantly under review. During the initial surge it was also tainted with the deaths especially those that were sudden.
This contributed to the inappropriate and ill-informed stigma towards Covid 19 positive patients.
Effects of Stigma on patients vary with a range from no impact to extremity of psychological trauma that may even lead to depression or suicide. Currently Covid 19 patients that have been stigmatised reported feelings of worthlessness, neglect, self-blame amongst others.
The public health risk with stigma is that of decline in health-seeking behaviour, non-adherence to treatment and ultimately further spread. Covid 19 infections were on the rise with Stigma being a contributing factor.
Psychological assistance from professionals and survivor support groups remain the most effective methods of dealing with Stigma. Ongoing public health awareness and education has a value in reducing the magnitude of stigma hence Covid 19 weekly radio shows and media statements.