Coronavirus patients will hide their status, spread if stigma continues – AIDS Commission boss

BY STARR FM - Apr 30, 2020 at 9:48am 100

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The Director-General of the Ghana Aids Commission, Kyeremeh Atuahene has warned COVID-19 will spread rapidly if people continue to stigmatise victims of the virus.

According to him, patients of viral diseases who cannot stand societal neglect often keep mute over the status so they can be accepted in society.

“If you stigmatise them, they will hide their status and spread it because nobody wants to be rejected by society. If we do not support them, we are putting everybody’s life at risk,” he told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Thursday.

It comes in the wake of concerns of rising discrimination against people who have recovered from the virus.

According to the Deputy Director in charge of monitoring at the Ghana Ambulance Service, Yaw Osei, some communities in Ghana have resorted to the use of land guards to remove recovered COVID-19 patients from among them.

According to Yaw Osei, due to the increasing level of stigmatization in communities, most recovered COVID-19 patients insist on returning to the treatment centres after going back home.

“We had a situation where some people (recovered patients) were sent home and they called back that they can’t stay because everybody in the house is after them. Most of our people live in compound houses so when they are exposed, and they go back there, acceptance becomes a challenge so we have had a situation where we had to go back and pick up the patient from the house because they are not being welcomed, so they prefer to stay at the treatment centre instead,” he revealed.

He added: “And we have had a situation whereby people have organized land guards to go and move people from the community because they believe that they are COVID-19 patients and we have had to go and move such people back to the treatment centre”.