Use Pulpits to Discourage COVID-19 Stigmatisation

Mr. Eric Adu, Acting Ahafo Regional Director of the NCCE has entreated religious leaders at Kenyasi and its environs to use their pulpits to counter stigmatisation against persons recovering from COVID-19.

He said the essence of addressing the stigma in our society was critical to the fight, especially at a time that a lot of people were recovering from the sickness in the country.

He made the plea during a joint meeting organised by the Asutifi North NCCE Offices, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Asutifi North Local Council of Churches Leaders to discuss issues related to the stigmatisation of COVID-19 recovered patients, frontline health workers as well as issues bothering on the on-going Voter Registration exercise and the 2020 general elections.

According to the Acting Regional Director, stigmatisation and discrimination against recovered COVID-19 patients put everyone at risk, adding that stigmatised persons tend to hide symptoms of illness and avoid seeking healthcare due to the discrimination.

He said, “stigmatised persons have more difficulties to access culturally appropriate care, due to the discrimination they may face at healthcare centres”. He added that often time the “frontline health workers would not be fully dedicated enough to treat those who fall sick, which would aggravate efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus”.

He, therefore, encouraged members of the Local Council of Churches to add their voice by appealing to their congregants to shun stigmatising persons with COVID-19 and rather curtail the spread.

Dr. Foster Nyarko, Asutifi North District Health Director of the GHS, elaborated on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the District and expressed worry about the fact that most of the citizenry were not observing the protocols, especially the wearing of face masks.

He also urged the church leaders to impress upon their members to observe the hygiene and safety protocols that have been laid down by the Ghana Health Service and its partners to halt the spread of the virus in the District.

Rev. Seth Owusu Dwamena, Chairman of the Local Council of Churches, commended the NCCE and the GHS for the vital information they provided to them and pledged on behalf of his colleagues to also intensify the sensitisation programmes on the COVID-19 protocols.

He stated that from time to time they would invite personnel of the two institutions to their churches to educate their members on the state of affairs in the country on COVID-19, the upcoming elections, and on other pertinent national issues.

On the on-going Voter Registration exercise, the Church leaders were urged to promote peace and speak against violence and those who ferment troubles.

Meanwhile, a similar meeting was held with of the Local Council of Churches at Kukuom in the Asunafo South District.

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