Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has officially launched an ANTI-STIGMA CAMPAIGN on Coronavirus; a newly coined initiative aimed at debilitating the heat of humiliation suffered by victims, specifically survivors of covid-19.
The out-dooring of the program was held on Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at the popular Rattray Park under the able support of project partners; Bloomberg Philanthropics and Vital Strategies through the “Partnership for Health cities COVID-19 Response initiative”.
Considering how quick the canker in question is gaining a center stage, Mayor for the Metropolis Hon Osei Assibey indicated in his speech at the event that urgent steps need to be implemented to address the challenge before it gets out of hand.
Per arrangements vis-à-vis the execution of the program, the Covid-19 Response Team of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly led by the Mayor Hon Osei Assibey has taken up the initiative to embark on a media and community based anti-stigma campaign within the metropolis.
As announced by the Mayor, a well-crafted public education-based Anti-stigma campaign message targeted at systematically dealing with the issue has been designed.
It will deal with the under-listed fallout of the Covid-19 fight, among others ;
- Community uprisings against Holding Bays and Isolation Centers (the Baatsona and Efutuman incidents as cases in point)
- Fear and anxiety associated with sharing spaces and items with recovered patients to the extent of divorces and strained relationships
- Unwillingness of patients to disclose their symptoms or status resulting in unnecessary risks to health workers and neighbors,
- Non-adherence to supportive treatment, prevention guidelines and restrictions on movement and covid-19 protocols
- Fear and anxiety of re-integration into society
- Hostility towards contact tracing efforts and refusal to submit to testing
- Name calling and alienation of survivor and their families among others.
“The fight requires the support of all and sundry. We count on you all to enable this campaign succeed. I therefore call on individuals, corporate bodies and institutions, especially the media houses to lend us their support in whatever form to enable us achieve the desired targets. We are indeed poised for action and want to complement government’s efforts at containing the spread of the virus”, Hon Osei Assibey made this statement during the event.
In his address, he expressed worry over how survivors of the virus have come face to face with the unfortunate challenge of being stigmatized by members of their communities “…to the extent that they and their families are treated like outcasts”.
By Enock Akonnor; Editor-in-Chief