In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, surviving COVID-19 also means fighting stigma. A number of countries from Ghana to Kenya and Nigeria have recorded incidents of survivors being stigmatized.
Over in Cameroon, one such survivor is on a mission to lead the fight against stigma. Ekane Anicet has decided to share his experience to spread awareness about the illness.
“People are scared, people didn’t think COVID-19 could touch them. In fact, what frightens people is the images from the West where they line up corpses, figures like ’8,000 dead’, it’s television that has created this panic among Africans,” he stressed.
Ekane is using social media to try and de-dramatize the pandemic and is at the head of an association for COVID-19 survivors.
A clinical psychologist also explains that the way COVID-19 victims are dramatically handled in the public adds to the stigma.
Dr Erero Njiengwé explained: “The way in which the teams arrive in the homes is a way that adds to the personal drama that people are experiencing, and creates – by attracting the attention of those around them – a further dramatisation of the problem.
“And it confirms or reinforces in the thoughts and minds of those around them the dangerousness of the coronavirus – which before was far away and almost theoretical .”