Members of Parliament have protested stigmatisation of recovered patients of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
These recovered patients, members stressed, are the heroes and heroines of Ghana’s battle against the pandemic.
The MPs argued that these persons should be celebrated for their victory over COVID-19 rather than be discriminated against.
Contributing to a statement on the floor on the growing stigmatization, discrimination and fear of people who have contracted the Coronavirus or recovered from it, the MPs warned against the unwelcome development.
This, they said, threatens to not only erode the positive gains that Ghana has made in the fight against the virus but could also derail future efforts and cooperation from COVID-19 patients.
A member of the Health Committee and MP for Nabdam, Dr. Mark Kurt Nawaane, who made the statement lamented media reports that recovered patients of COVID-19 are being rejected.
“The rejection can be so intense that even their immediate family members like children, wife and others can be affected.”
“In one report a child who wanted to buy food was denied access because his father had returned home after recovering from COVID-19,” he added.
This, he warned, cannot be right and stressed they are not villains and under no circumstance should they be castigated.
He condemned the ignorance that leads to the assignment of negative stereotypes or branding of people who have recovered from the virus.
MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in his contribution appealed for conduct that will not stigmatize and delineate people who contract and recover from the coronavirus.
He emphasized that being infected with COVID-19 is not a death sentence or a shameful phenomenon.
“You can be treated and you can recover and be integrated back into society and so you should be accepted by your family.”
“You should not be shunned or ostracized and should not suffer any form of discrimination,” he said.
Mr. Ablakwa noted that Ghana’s 2,070 recoveries and 32 deaths out of over 7,000 infections are very impressive.
“This business of discriminating against people suspected to have the Coronavirus must stop and this House should lead the way in that advocacy,” he added.
In his contribution, Deputy Minister for Health Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, explained that everybody is a potential candidate for COVID-19.
According to him, unlike other diseases whose infections are determined by behaviours and lifestyles, the COVID-29 can affect every person even without engaging in risky attitudes.
“This is why there is no reason to stigmatize anyone who is infected with the disease,” he said.
The Deputy Minister noted that the recovered patients are the source of hope in Ghana’s fight against COVID-19 because it indicates the disease is not invincible and could be defeated.
“So if we start to marginalize those who are our evidence that this war can be won then we are actually shutting the light that gives us hope and the reason we can go about our duties with caution,” he added.
Others who contributed to the statement include Joseph Yileh Chireh, MP for Wa West and Dr. Kweku Afriyie, MP for Sefwi Wiawso.