Social stigma in the context of health relates to the negative association of a person or group of people to a specific ailment or condition. This means people are labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against, treated separately, and experience loss of status because of their perceived link with a disease.
The coronavirus and its global spread have been a cause of concern and there is a great need for a call for communal action to stave off the virus from circulating further. While we all may be feeling worried about how to stay safe amidst this pandemic, it is important that we keep coronavirus-related stigma to a minimum as it would make this challenging circumstance worse.
Words matter, and using language that gives strong opinions around existing stereotypes can steer people away from getting tested and taking the necessary actions they need to protect themselves and their communities from the virus.
The stigma associated with COVID-19 is based on the fact that if it is a disease that’s new with many unknowns, people are often afraid of the unknown, and it is easy to associate that fear of the unknown with ‘others’. These three factors are fueling harmful stereotypes.
The impact of social stigmatization includes;
- Social stigmatization can drive people to hide the fact that they have been infected with coronavirus to avoid discrimination
- Social Stigmatization can prevent people from seeking health care immediately
- Social Stigmatization can discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours.
Social Stigmatization can be avoided if;
When talking about coronavirus and other diseases, certain words and language which may have a negative meaning for people and fuel stigmatizing attitudes are avoided.
People spread facts, not fear
To do this, individuals can help stop by use only credible and official sources such as the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF, checking the facts on official websites or social media platforms before acting, believing advice or sharing information online and avoiding spread misinformation, even if it seems accurate
Before we round off this article, it is important as individuals that we not only keep our mental health and those around us safe but also ourselves.
We can do this by observing all Covid19 preventive measures (washing of hands, maintaining social distance, and wearing a facemask).
Get yourself COVID-19 Home Testing Kit to carry out weekly testing of you and your family.
To carry out a Coronavirus home visit test, put a call through to a clinician to determine whether testing is needed at all. A PCR swab test kit would be mailed to your home where you would be expected to perform the test and send your sample to a laboratory for analysis and testing.
Please note that while awaiting the results, you would need to remain self-quarantined.
This diagnostic process could be done virtually and targets people who are low-risk and can be safely cared for at home.
Need to travel urgently? Ensure you take our UK Arrivals COVID-19 Test. This is important because the UK government requires all travellers arriving in the UK, including British citizens, to tender a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. This system was put in place on the 18th of January. Before this, travel borders had been open with no test requirements.
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