Stigmatizing

The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has organized a stakeholders’ inception meeting to kick start a project which aims at improving the mental health condition of persons with Covid-19 lived experiences in Ghana.

The project, which is on the theme, “Improving mental health wellbeing of persons with lived Covid-19 through stigma reduction in two most-at-risk communities in the Greater Accra Region”, is supported by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie with funding from UK-Aid.

In an opening remark during the meeting on Friday at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, the Acting Executive Director of the HRAC, Mr. Patrick Ziwu, informed that, “As Ghana battles with the pandemic through the provision of health care and social interventions to minimize fatalities, another pandemic in the form of stigma has reared its head.”

Mr. Ziwu said there was a high level of stigma against persons infected or even cured of the virus as well as those associated with these persons or those resident at places considered as hotspot of the virus.

“This creates fear and anxiety which has the potential to undermine the mental wellbeing of affected persons.

“While I appreciate the effort being made by government and other stakeholders, I do also acknowledge that more needs to be done to address myriad of Covid-19 implications of mental wellbeing of persons living in Ghana,” Mr. Ziwu said.

Programmes Manager of HRAC, Mr. George Owoo, informed that the outcome of this project would create awareness of mental health and Covid-19 so that stigma would be removed and people would have their freedom.

Mr Owoo also indicated that there would be improved access to health services as participants and beneficiaries would be introduced to mobile services which would provide stigma-free services to persons with Covid-19 lived experience.

He observed that access to health was a human right issue and nothing, including stigma should prevent anybody with Covid-19 experience from having access to health services.

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer of the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, Ms. Priscilla Lariba Asangalisah, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), asked that attention be given to the mental health of people which included those working in the health centres, people in the communities, persons who had already suffered from mental health, and Persons living With Disabilities (PWDs).

“We call on government to give attention to these people because we may say they are facing double negative impact especially through discrimination,” she explained.

Ms. Asangalisah explained further by saying, “If we say we are caring for one another, we must leave no one behind and be mindful of the needs of persons living with disabilities because we cannot have a progressive society when we leave the needs of these people behind.”

HRAC is a not-for-profit, independent, non-partisan research and advocacy organization set out to promote and protect human right in Ghana and provide data services through our human right clinic to vulnerable persons living in Ghana.

HRAC is embarking on a 12-month project which aims to eliminate the impact of Covid-19 on mental health and improve access to health care services by persons affected by coronavirus within the Ashaiman and Kpone Katamanso communities.

This, they would achieve through educating and sensitizing project beneficiaries on mental health implications of Covid-19 and related matters, and providing them with psychosocial support through mobile clinic services.

This project is part of a bigger programme called “Leave No One Behind” by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie which targets Persons living With Disability(PWDs).

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