Initially, hospitals were holding public send-off events for people who have recovered from COVID-19. But according to medics, many of the people were labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against and experienced loss of status because of the apparent link with the disease which negatively affected their relationship with caregivers, family, friends and communities.
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital on Saturday discreetly discharged
30 patients who have recovered from Coronavirus Disease – COVID-19. Earlier
this week, 27 others were discharged bringing to 275 cumulative recoveries from the facility since
The individuals who included Gulu based journalists were flagged off by Dr Paska Apiyo, the Physician in-charge
of the COVID-19 treatment centre.
Initially, hospitals were holding public send-off events for people who have recovered from COVID-19. But according to medics, many of the people were labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against and experienced
loss of status because of the apparent link with the disease which negatively affected their relationship with caregivers, family, friends and communities.
Several patients of the virus disease who include local
leaders have narrated their ordeals on stigma, following their evacuation and
admission to the treatment unit, where at least 517 cumulative positive cases
have since been admitted.
Denis Ojwee, a veteran journalist undergoing COVID-19 treatment at the facility says the negative community perceptions are
driving many people to hideaway with the sickness for fear of discrimination.
//Cue in; “When we were…
Cue out…one another.”//
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the District Chairperson who has also been
admitted at the facility after testing positive for COVID-19 revealed that anxiety caused by lock-downs, many unknowns around
COVID-19 and fear of being infected has given rise to stigma in local
//Cue in; “I am here…
Cue out…on your mask.”//
Mapenduzi, who has been pivotal in resource mobilization to assist
households affected by the outbreak asserts that the level of stigma and
discrimination in the District is appalling and rallied all stakeholders to
unite against the vice.
//Cue in; “We need to…
Cue out…avoid stigma.”//
Several other heads of department have tested positive prompting the District
leaders to limit access to the district offices by the public. Gloria
Aloyo, the District Communication Officer says they have as well scaled-down
the workforce to limit the number of staff in the office.
She said; “We, therefore, request that only very important issues are
brought to the District and we advise the general public to use the services of
the Lower Local Governments where applicable.”
Yoweri Idiba, the District Health Officer – DHO, says all staff have had
their samples taken and are awaiting the
results from Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe
by the end of the week.
Idiba added that the District Task Force has set up a very strong psycho-social support team to provide counselling to COVID-19 patients, their
caregivers, families and members of the community where they come from.
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.