HealthSocial

The Suicide Mission

This post talks about stigmatisation against patients of COVID 19. A lot of education and sentization have been done on how to avoid getting this virus, very little has however been done on how to handle people around us who test positive.

Community life
I come from a small community

Can you imagine that someone who comes from a small community like mine (where one’s business is everyone’s business) can feel estranged from such a community, or even from her or his own family? Well, that is my situation now and if nothing changes about it, I may commit suicide. Yes! You heard me, I want to take my life. If the very people I call family cannot accept me, what is the purpose of being alive? I completed my first degree about eighteen months ago, then six months ago, I won a scholarship to continue my education abroad in a very prestigious university. I was ecstatic. The news spread like a bushfire during the Harmattan, and soon my house became the go-to for the community; they were proud of me, and in one way or another in offered their contributions for my educational endeavor. Some gave foodstuff, money, pieces of advice, just about anything you can think of. It wasn’t just about me, but the feeling of oneness in my community was so strong that no one could go hungry when the neighbor has food in their house.

Community gathering
Everyone was present to goodbye me

The day before I left my community to travel abroad, a small durbar was held at the chief’s palace to officially say goodbye to me. It was a bittersweet occasion, they were happy that a daughter of the soil was going to the foreigners’ land and sad that they will miss me. Pieces of advice were aplenty and I became the exemplar for the younger ones. I adjusted quickly when I arrived abroad and was soon swamped with studies and projects, I could barely remember the names of the new people I met every day yet firmly at the back of my mind was this community I had, which I missed and couldn’t wait to go back to. Occasionally I would video call my parents and speak to the visitor present, and a few times, I spoke to the chief and other community members. Everyone had questions but I could never answer all of them. They asked questions like what food do I eat? How are the people in the land like? Do I see snow? I started buying presents that I would take with me when I finally return home.

Then a few months ago, COVID-19 showed its ugly face to the

Corona Virus

world and things changed. Unfortunately, I was infected but pulled through. I decided to go home since my people were very worried about me. I wanted them to see that even though I got the virus, I was treated and very healthy now. That turned out to be a wrong move, for as I got to the town where I would take a bus to my community, none of the drivers were willing to give me a ticket. I tried reminding them who I was but they said they know me and they are also aware that I have COVID-19, to which I explained that I did have but I am okay now and very healthy but they would not listen. It took a lot of pleading to have them agree to carry me in one of the buses, and even with that they had to spread materials on the seat and no one was allowed to sit by me.

At the community center where I got down, children who were fetching water at the communal borehole started running away, mothers were pulling their children away and no one even came to help me with my luggage. I headed towards the chief’s palace to announce my arrival but at the entrance, I was told by one of the palace attendants that the chief does not wish to see me. That was shocking because he always stops whatever he is doing to give me audience, I decided to go to my family house but the door was shut in my face. Sadly, I walked home and was expecting my mother at least to leap to her feet when she saw

suicide
All I want to do now is to commit suicide

me, but nope, with her hand in her jaw, she started slowly shaking her head when she noticed me. My father stopped me in my tracks and asked me to follow him, I walked behind him at a distance till we got to the outskirts of the village, a hut had been built and stocked with foodstuff for me, I was not supposed to get near anyone nor go to any of their gatherings, my father said they did not have an option. Once I entered the hut, I wept uncontrollably while clutching my handbag tightly, there was no shoulder to cry on. It was then that I picked up the piece of rope; I could not bear it, I wanted to commit suicide, I just wanted to die. But before I undertake this suicide mission, I needed to tell my story to the world.

With the right counselling and support, we shall overcome this too

COVID-19 is scary because of how fast it is spread around the world and how a lot of people are dying because of it. A lot of education and sensitization have been done about how to prevent getting this virus but little is known about how to handle our family members, neighbors, and friends who get the virus. Do we just cut them off and leave them to their own fate? Much has also not been done about how people who recover from COVID-19 will be socialized back to their communities and most importantly their families so that there would not be any stigmatization shown to them. Maybe the health personnel handling COVID-19 issues are providing some counseling to these patients, if such a thing does not exist, they should think about it and also extend this service to the families of the patients.

Say no to stigmatisation

A lot of people who are recovering from the virus may not survive the stigma that society will show them. Just imagine that one member of your family has tested positive, has been quarantined and treated and been released to come home, will you welcome her or him with open arms? That is the kind of stigma we are talking about. Let us be opened minded to these people and show compassion to them. We do not want to record suicide cases soon as a result of stigmatization.

Let us show some compassion

Stigmatization is one trait that’s being associated with us for a while now and truth be told, this has made people more miserable than the condition through which they are being stigmatized. Take for example patients who test positive to the HIV virus, though the antiretroviral drugs do work and give them another shot at life, they have to by all possible means keep it a secret so as to avoid public scrutiny and judgment. There have been calls from a portion of the public to government and other stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19  to show visual evidence in the form of pictures and or videos of those infected as prove of infection but were ignored due to fear of the victims being stigmatized. This is a wake-up call on all of us to stop the stigma and show love and support in any way we could to these victims.

Let us continue to avoid touching our faces, washing our hands, using our sanitizers, wear face-mask (the government of Ghana and other governments in some other countries are insisting on wearing of face-masks in public), drinking water, doing exercises, taking vitamins, and all the other things we are advised not to do or do during this period.

Your efforts to educate and sensitize rural people about COVID 19 is commendable

This blog post is dedicated to JUSTIN B. ABESIG (JBA). JBA is a second born of seven siblings and a Dagara from Kokoligu in the Nandom Municipal of the upper west region of Ghana 🇬🇭. He is Google Certified Digital Marketer. He is the Hon. Speaker, Nandom Municipal Youth Parliament and works with SOMOCO GH LTD and currently the manager of the upper west branch. His social media handles:
Facebook profile: Jba Justin Abesig
https://www.facebook.com/AbesigBetengtambJustinFacebook page: Jba Justin Abesig
Visit to Like my Page-https://www.facebook.com/109012810734631?referrer=whatsapp linkedIn: J B A (Justin B Abesig Instagram: MarketerJba
https://www.instagram.com/heritage_sheabutter?r=nametag Twitter: @MarketerJba
https://twitter.com/MarketerJba?s=09.

JBA has been instrumental in education and sensitisation of people in the Upper West region on COVID 19. CHEERS!!!

#Say no to stigmatization, #Stay safe #Mask up, #Sanitize, #Stay at home if you can

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89 Comments

  1. Well said, stigma kills the soul and makes one thinks he or she does not deserve to leave on earth. #saynotostigmatisation

  2. Such an interesting piece.
    Well I have always had a problem with people who stigmatize because just as your fellow human has contracted the virus, so can you also contract it and when that happens, I’m not sure you’ll be happy when treated the way you’re treating someone now.
    The public really needs more education on that as the world is getting more recoveries than death, so will we have to also educate the public more too about stigmatism and it’s effects.

    Thanks

  3. Great piece. Stigmatization kills faster than covid-19. We need each other for fight the deadly pandemic. Keep it up

  4. I like your write ups,infact I’m so happy with this bold step from a dagabie…we will support however we can. Say no to stigma and collectively we can do this.💪

  5. Public Education on stigmatization must always go with the issue at hand, delay in this birth this behavior. Worth reading Sugar. Thanks

  6. Well written! Diseases do kill, but stigma and mental breakdown arising from stigma kills even more.The brass tacks to ending stigmatisation is public education. Good job!

  7. It is a great piece. I think it’s about time we woke from this unmerited slumber. It is a wake up call.
    Thank you senior sister

  8. Stigmatisation is indeed threat 👍truely with the right counseling’s we shall overcome this too.such a brilliant work. You deserve a medal 🙌

  9. I’ve always said that the covid19 is more of a mental illness than a physical one. Too much info abt nothing has led to an aggravated fear of the virus. We still don’t even know what it is and WHO I even confused. We really have to work at it and stay safe. As Africans we need to be each other’s keeper and together we will beat this one too.
    Stigmatization is indeed a canker and very bad. Thanks to folk like you raising the awareness.
    Very harrowed experience to bring the effects od stigma home. Well done Sugar
    Keep strong.

  10. This is really a sad but touching story. It is often said that friends and family only din with you in ur happy moment’s or at the time they see you are having the world at ur disposal never expect people to share with you in your trial season because the moment begin think so, that’s the beginning of failure. Just gutter courage and move to an unknown community to enable you recover from this unexpected shock and mockery.
    Don’t also think so much about the situation but rather accept whom you are and make life a better one for yourself.

  11. This is actually so thoughtful and it is going to help solve 99.9% of such similar issues in our various homes and communities .Everything on point and right timing. Big ups and congratulations sis.

  12. Great Pierce…
    I noticed an omission in the last but second paragraph and also a spell error in paragraph 2 sentence 3…
    Kudos😊

  13. This is real. I had a personal experience even though I didn’t test positive for the Covid-19. A day after the lockdown was announced, I was in Accra when I received a call from home in Ashanti not to step foot in the house, but rather I should stay where I am and take good care of myself for the fear that I may come and infect them with the Covid-19.
    When after two weeks they realised I am very fine with no symptoms they called that I should try and come home. Even with that when I arrived, no one wants to get close nor hold anything of mine..
    My Mentor it’s good you have raised this concern because it’s real.
    Keep it up

  14. You’re just on point sweet.I have been wondering about how the recoveries were actually going to survive this world we live in.I lost it when I heard about the case of a friend who just recovered and was almost blown off by his family,similar to your piece.Betty I wept.I found it so hard coming to terms with that.I couldn’t believe it was real.I said to myself,how I wish there would be a lot of light thrown on these challenges.But i can always relay and trust you Betty.I’m almost free from these thoughts now because of you!You nailed it again!.And it’s my prayer that this actually goes far and impact on a lot of lives and change the world soonest.I will be wholly happy and sincerely greatful if we alI could help share this to the world.let’s start with everybody on our contact and even beyond.you’ve no idea the number of souls you will win from suicide. God enlightens your thinking more and bless your efforts to touching,saving and winning more lives.Your reward is unlimited.lots of love sissy Betty

  15. Glad you brought this post up. I agree much work needs to be done on the educational front regarding stigmatisation. Not just of CoVid-19 patients but of all chronic diseases. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Thanks for putting effort into this.

    Cheers Sugar

  16. Great write-up, Sugar. Indeed, stigmatization would bring to naught, our strive to bring this deadly COVID-19 under control.
    I initially supported those who were advocating for the disclosure of the identity of those who tested positive as that would undoubtedly enhance the contact tracing.
    I looked at people like; Borris Johnson, Prince Charles, Prince Albert, Michel Barnier etc telling the world that they are positive, as role models to such worthy calls.
    But the ordeals of those who have recovered from this COVID-19 is making people to now understand why the health personnel do not disclose the identity of those who test negative with their popular defensive expression, “Patient right”.
    Truly, truly, we need to put a stop to stigmatization if only we want to win this fight.

  17. I think education on covid19 hasn’t been executed adequately. As a nation we need a whollistic attack on the pandemic virus rather than handling just an aspect of the healing process.Stigmatization must stop!

  18. A very good article. The education is really not there, but the fear and scare we put out in our discussion of the pandemic is also a catalyst to this stigma.
    CSM is killing us each year more than covid-19, but when CSM struck upper west region we seemed not to bother as a nation. That outbreak I understand has killed more than 30 people, but covid-19 has killed less yet we are spending more on covid-19 as compared to CSM

  19. Great piece…it’s a serious problem
    But it felt funny to me this part ..”a hut had been built and stocked with foodstuff for me”😂

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