The Upper East Regional COVID-19 Emergency Response Team says stigmatising Covid-19 infected persons or those who have been tested, is impeding the fight against the virus in the region.
The team says contacts have gone into hiding, for fear of being stigmatised, making efforts to curb the spread of the disease difficult.
GBC’s Upper East Regional Correspondent Samuel Ayammah spent some time with a man who has just recovered from COVID-19, Bernard Akumasi and is being stigmatised together with his family members.
The fight against the coronavirus seems to be in jeopardy due to stigma. In the Upper East region, some residents are stigmatising covid-19 patients who have been treated and discharged as well as their families and relatives. So many people who do have the disease deny being positive for fear of being labelled as the one with the coronavirus.
Interacting with GBC News, Mr Bernard Akumasi, who contracted the virus from his wife, Matilda Agamu, the Upper East region’s first covid-19 patient, confirmed that he has been discharged from the treatment centre at the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga after his last mandatory test result came back negative.
“The treatment that they gave us was some Vitamin C with one medicine that we should take so that it can cure the virus. So we took the medicine, they took our second sample, they did not even tell us what is going on—whether it’s negative or positive.”
“And they came and took the third one again. So that one, we don’t even know what was going on. And now when the issue even started, they have to even calm down and talk to us because the day that they even asked me, I explained everything to them. That day, all the radio stations also started. They said one pregnant girl together with her husband are having coronavirus. I said okay because we don’t have any choice and we don’t have any option, we have to continue to be there until when I was discharged and asked to come back a week time again.”
“Since I came, my house people show me love but the outside people still stigmatise me.”
Mr Akumasi said because of the fear of being stigmatised, he does not go out even though he’s a businessman.
“I can’t even go anywhere apart from my house to my wife’s place. As at now, I’m jobless, my wife is pregnant and cannot do anything. She can’t even go to the market to even sell. Because of that they said that they don’t want to see her there again.”
“Even my mother is selling charcoal outside here and no one comes to buy the charcoal. She can’t even do anything and she’s taking care of my small boy.”
“I was a businessman who goes to Kumasi to and fro, because of that my business partner has run and left me. I can’t do anything.”
Listen to attached audio for detailed report.