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Combating Stigmatization and Social Discrimination Phenomena Arising from Covid-19 Pandemic Health Responses in Nigeria

Babatunde M Lawal, Obani Lateefat Adeola

Abstract


Purpose: This paper attempted to x-ray the incidence of COVID-19 global pandemic and the resulting unfortunate stigmatization and social discrimination experiences which people with the pandemic are going through. The paper as a as a theoretical paper examined the effects of the instances of stigmatization arising from fear, misinformation, lack of adequate information and the corresponding social tension. Some of the discriminatory behaviours that accompany such fear, as they damage not only the socio-cultural fabric in the long-run, but also compromise present efforts to contain the disease were discussed.

Methodology: The study adopted a descriptive research design.

Findings: from the paper revealed that everyone is capable of helping to stop stigma related to COVID-19 through assisting oneself and others to cope with the stress associated with the pandemic in order to make the community stronger.  Attempt was therefore made to highlight some strategies that could be considered and explored by different stakeholders such as the government, media, community, the individuals and research institutes towards mitigating the effects of stigmatization and social discrimination created by the global pandemic called COVID-19. It concluded that we all have a responsibility to help correct the misconceptions through policy shift and interventions that can promote less chances of stigmatization in case of any pandemic.

Unique contribution to theory, policy and practice: Members of any community experiencing COVID-19 cases must be ready to maintain privacy and confidentiality of people with such cases so that they will not be unnecessarily exposed to instances of stigmatization and discrimination. Timely public health interventions capable of addressing cultural impact and the risk of stigmatization along with proper screening, treatment and follow up will reduce any anticipated spike in the spread and resultantly bring down the chances of stigmatization and discrimination. Health workers would need to be more conscious of the names of diseases and using of words and phrases such as “epidemic”, “the epicenter of the disease”. The media personnel equally need to be cautious about the images that are shared by making sure that they do not reinforce stereotypes. They must be very careful in their choices of awareness materials. Scholars would need to be encouraged to get involved in action researches that can promote the development of vaccines and drugs that can help reduce the menace of COVID-19 which is currently characterized by deaths and numerous instances of stigmatization and discrimination



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Keywords


Stigmatization, Social Discrimination, COVID-19 Pandemic, Combating Strategies and Nigeria

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