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By Ananya Namdev Via UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh
“हमें बीमारी से लड़ना है, बीमार से नहीं।”
Many of you must have heard this on caller tunes, T.V., radio or through the garbage truck that comes at our door every morning. But are we really listening? Some are but not everyone. And hence, this is giving rise to the stigma and discrimination towards COVID patients. People who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered or have quarantined for the prescribed period. So why are we stigmatising them?
Whether it’s the emergency responders or healthcare providers, or other frontline workers, such as grocery store workers, delivery workers, or farm and food processing plant workers — they are all essential workers and deserve our respect.
Being a witness to this stigma and discrimination in my own city, I know what impact it leaves on the person facing it. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or even anger towards ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease that’s causing the problem. Stigma also can make people more likely to keep the symptoms or illness a secret, keeping them from seeking help immediately. This stigma can make it harder to regulate the spread of an epidemic.
Groups who experience stigma may also experience discrimination. This discrimination can take the form of other people avoiding or rejecting them; getting denied healthcare, education, housing, or employment; facing verbal abuse or even physical violence in some cases.
Stigma can negatively affect the emotional, mental and physical health of stigmatized groups, and therefore the communities they live in. Stigmatized individuals may have the experience of isolation, depression, anxiety, or public embarrassment. Stopping stigma is vital to making all communities and community members safer and healthier.
We all hold a social responsibility. Therefore, to cure this problem, which is a side effect of a bigger problem, we, as citizens, or above all, as human, have to speak up. We can keep these things in mind:
So let’s make this world a better place for people who are affected amid this health crisis!
About the author: Ananya Namdev is a 21-year-old law student from Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.