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Stigmatisation of discharged Coronavirus patients dangerous, Lagos social workers warn

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Two Lagos-based social workers on Friday called on Nigerians not to stigmatise discharged Covid-19 patients in order to prevent change in attitude of the yet-to-be captured carriers in the society.

The social workers spoke against the backdrop of findings that some Nigerians were  segregating against discharged patients of coronavirus.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that this behavior might make infected persons to hide their status from the public.

Mrs Maureen Ifeounkwu, a Senior Social Worker in the Nigeria Correctional Service, Kirikiri, Lagos, said that so long as discharged patients had been certified cured by medical teams, the society should accecpt them back.

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“They willingly surrender themselves for test and eventually test positive to the disease before treatment that make them to be okay and subsequently discharged.

“They went through a conventional process of regaining their physical and health status acceptable by the larger society.  Therefore, they should be allowed to reintegrate into the society where they came from,” Ifeounkwu said.

According to her, if segregation should continue, people with symptoms of the virus might resort to self-help within their environment and the level of transmission will continue unabated.

Ifeounkwu noted that the discharged patients were like released prison inmates who needed love and support of the society to enable them reintegrate and forge ahead with their lives.

Also, Director, Environmental Health Service, Lagos State Primary Health Board, Mr Abayomi Shobande, said there was no need for such behavior.

“We are in a phase of mass testing of those suspected to be symptomatic to the virus. If such should be allowed, it will make the house-to-house testing of people difficult,” Shobande said.

He urged the committee for the management of COVID-19 to include segregation against discharged patients as an offence to be handled by the mobile courts set up to curb the spread in the country.

NAN reports that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had asked Nigerians not to stigmatise discharged patients, saying testing positive to coronavirus was not a death sentence.

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