A Senior Medical Laboratory Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Gideon Lamptey has called on the general public to desist from the stigmatization of health workers in particular in order not to demotivate them to stop serving the public against the spread of the COVID-19.
“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the general public that it doesn’t help. Because we are fighting for God and Country. We want them to appreciate us when we come home and sit with them. They shouldn’t stigmatize. But rather encourage us to do more. If we don’t continue to do our work, the case rate would continue to increase without any help,” he beseeched.
Speaking live on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on Fighting COVID-19 at Ghana’s Ports: Celebrating Frontline Health Workers, the Consultant Laboratory Scientist, recounted some of the undesirable behaviours sections of the public demonstrate during the taking of samples for onward testing.
“There was one situation that we went to Ashaiman to take a sample, and by the time we had finished taking the sample, someone had the nerve to be videoing us. And I had to be stern on him,” he narrated.
Gideon, however, emphasized on the need for regular testing on the part of the frontline health workers, due to the delicate nature of their work.
A Nursing Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Regina Afua Tedeku, also lamented the psycho-social impact stigmatization would have on the Ghanaian society, and added her voice for its eradication.
“If you shun the person and you isolate them, this can push them into depression, and we all know the dire consequences of depression.”
She said, instead of flagrant labelling and shunning of patients of the coronavirus, it is in the society’s interest to cautiously ingratiate recovered patients warmly into the society.
The General Manager, Health Services Department of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Dr. Vitus Victor Anaab-Bisi, also urged recovered patients of the coronavirus to come out boldly, in order to serve as torch bearers for the fight against stigmatization.
“Indeed those who have had the disease, and have gone through treatment and have been cured, should make sure to come out, as champions and speak to it,” he encouraged.
Dr. Anaab-Bisi indicated that stigmatization is emerging as a social bane in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, and can gradually create a society where people, especially asymptomatic patients are unwilling to get tested.
According to him, this would worsen Ghana’s coronavirus situation and take a lot away from all the efforts that have been made to encourage collaboration from the general citizenry regarding testing and quarantining.
The panellists nonetheless, urged their colleagues serving as frontline health officials, to embrace the call to service in these challenging times to demonstrate their very purpose in life.