COVID-19 Private Sector Fund launches anti-stigmatization campaign

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Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the NCCE

The COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, in partnership with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Ghana Psychological Association, Ghana Medical Association and Global Media Alliance have joined forces to launch an awareness campaign titled “Let Love Lead. End The Stigma”. The campaign plans to fight the stigma and discrimination against COVID-19 recovered persons, frontline workers and their families.

The ‘Let Love Lead. End The Stigma’ campaign seeks to change people’s mindsets about COVID-19 and debunk myths and misconceptions about recovered persons and their family members. It is further aimed at reducing fear while communicating support for frontline workers who can play a crucial role in the fight against stigmatization.

A statement issued by the COVID-19 Private Sector Fund on the campaign stated: “We are very happy about the high number of recoveries Ghana has recorded but unfortunately, some recovered persons are being stigmatized against because of the misconceptions going around about COVID-19 recoveries. This campaign has become necessary to encourage behavioural change and educate the public on how to support their successful re-integration into society.”

“We want to encourage everyone, from journalists to politicians, health workers, teachers, religious heads and traditional rulers to support this anti-stigma and discrimination campaign by preaching love for recovered patients,” the statement read.

CEO of GNPC, Dr. K.K. Sarpong expressed the rationale behind the company’s sponsorship of the campaign. “As an organisation, we have observed some of the ill-fated ways in which some recovered persons have been treated and we believe that our collaboration with the COVID-19 private sector fund will enable us to promote a peaceful co-existence through education and various interactions in this period of uncertainty.

Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the NCCE, a major partner of the anti-stigma campaign, stated, “This campaign is very necessary to intensify education around COVID-19 issues and the need to accept recovered patients. We want to emphasize the importance of building trust with recovered persons while combatting stigma and discrimination among the wider population.”

According to Dr. Wiafe-Akenten, Head, Social Psychology Division of the Ghana Psychological Association, partners of the campaign, “Some Ghanaians have responded to recovered COVID-19 persons and their family members in extreme ways. We want to let people know that stigma and discrimination are barriers to an effective response.”

“We must treat each other in a way which almost assumes that tomorrow we are going to need the support from those who have recovered. We must cut the hate and work together as a country to overcome this virus,” he added.

The campaign will take place in the form of radio education, sensitization posts on social media, virtual training programs, community outreach, testimonials from recovered persons, etc.

As part of their support to government in the fight against the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 Private Sector Fund served 144,000 meals to head porters (kayayei) and underprivileged persons during the lockdown, provided high-end tertiary care Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the National COVID-19 Treatment Centre.

The fund is currently constructing an Infectious Disease and Isolation Centre which is equipped with a 21-bed intensive care unit and a level 2.5 scalable to a level 3 biomedical laboratory in consultation with officials from Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.

The campaign which is an initiative of the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund and sponsored by the Ghana Psychological Association, is also supported by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ghana Psychological Association (GPA), Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and Global Media Alliance.

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