The COVID 19 patients suffering from the stigma of social isolation get a relaxed breathe after the recent decision of the Punjab government not to affix posters outside the houses of patients any longer. On Friday, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh reversed his government earlier decision of putting posters outside the houses of the COVID 19 patients. Posters were already affixed may be removed.
According to the chief minister, the move is made to ensure the minimizing of the stigma resulting from affixing the poster outside the front door of the patient’s houses and hence, developing the fear of testing. The Chief Minister also appealed to the people to come for early testing and diagnosis and treatment of the infection.
Video Conference- To fight the fear of social isolation
Also, related to the development in COVID-19 testing, Punjab Government organized a video conference on Friday. The aim of the video conference was about the measures of how to decrease the stigma and discrimination against the people who tested positive for the COVID 19.
The measures suggested during the conference were such as correction of vocabulary like “people who have COVID 19” instead of COVID 19 cases and COVID 19 victims, some positive stories of recovery from Coronavirus should be shared, don’t label any group or area particularly for the spread of COVID 19 and don’t spread Rumours regarding the infection and take actions against such rumors.
In the orientation, experts from the United Nations and the World health organization participated. The experts who attended the drive were frontline health care workers, state health department officials, and administrative officials.
Adverse effects of stigma and discrimination on patients
During the conference, the presentation is presented in which the effects of stigma and discrimination are noted. The effects include an increased sense of emotional isolation, feeling of guilt and anxiety, and lack of self-esteem and confidence, and worsening of pre-existing psychiatric illness such as depression.
Due to the fear of social isolation, it was noted that the people were hiding their symptoms of COVID 19 and showed hesitation in seeking medical help and also not following the fule of self-quarantine.
Also, the stigma led to the delayed reporting of the cases which result in case management and prevention measures.
Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid-19, Dr. Rajesh Bhaskar, said out of more than 15000 active cases more than half were currently in home isolation.
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