NGOs in Health in the Eastern Region are calling on government to involve civil society organizations (CSOs) to create awareness and educate Ghanaians on the effects of stigmatizing persons affected with the coronavirus disease.
This comes after staff of the Fanteakwa government hospital in the Eastern region are reportedly being shunned by their community members after a patient tested positive of covid-19 there.
In response to this development, the Eastern Regional Chairman of NGOs in Health, Mr Emmanuel Mintah in an interview today April 21 2020 said: '' stigmatization is one of the threats of this pandemic. The government has to involve civil society, we can talk to the community members one-on-one concerning the stigmatization. During the HIV/AIDS intervention, the Ghana Aids Commission involved NGOs on awareness creation using the stigmatization against people living with HIV. But with this one, it's not like that. In some areas when they try to get an isolation centre then the community people stigmatize and say they will not allow them to use the place as isolation centre’’.
Mr. Mintah also said the issue of stigmatization emanates from lack of knowledge of the Covid-19 pandemic
''In the region, we have about 50-60 NGOs and we are working in collaboration with Ghana Health Service . People living in these areas have low knowledge of this disease that is why they are stigmatizing the health workers because if one health worker is infected he /she can infect others with the disease’’.
Mr. Wiafi Akenten indicated that most people may decide to hide and not seek medical attention when they develop symptoms of the deadly virus because of the fear of being stigmatized.