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Stigmatization Hindering Covid-19 Home-Based Care Treatment in Gulu City

Geoffrey Topiny, the Head of Risk Communication and Community Engagement of Gulu City COVID -19 Taskforce revealed that he receives between three to four complaints of stigmatization from COVID -19 patients undergoing home-based care treatment daily.
Health Workers carying out rapid COVID -19 tests on students who returned from Kampala -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Residents of Gulu City are on spot for stigmatizing COVID -19 patients undergoing home-based care treatment.

The latest report from Gulu District Health Office indicates that a total of 419 COVID -19 patients are undergoing home-based care, while 37 and 14 are in severer condition at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor and Gulu Regional Referral Hospital respectively.

Santos Comboni Okwera, a resident of Kanyagoga ‘A’ Sub –Ward in Bardege –Layibi Division says seven of his family members tested positive of COVID -19 and are undergoing home-based care.

Okwera says that when the neighbours learnt of the health status of the family members, no one wants to visit his home and that whenever they want to buy items from nearby shops and markets, the sellers turn them down, making life very hard for them.

According to Okwera, the area local leaders who should have been the one to sensitize the locals against stigmatizing the COVID –19 patients, they are the one spearheading the vice.

Geoffrey Topiny, the Head of Risk Communication and Community Engagement of Gulu City COVID -19 Taskforce revealed that he receives between three to four complaints of stigmatization from COVID -19 patients undergoing home-based care treatment daily.

According to Topiny, some of the landlords ordered for the eviction of those patients while other patients are denied access to buying food items since the locals look at their money as a source of infection.

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Topiny says due to stigmatization, a lot of the patients have begun flouting the home-based care guidelines while others have declined to seek medical attention. He appealed to the local community to cease such an act since it is hampering the fights against COVID -19.

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Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayor who also Co-chairs the Gulu City COVID -19 Taskforce says they also learnt that most homes do not have enough rooms for the patients’ isolation while on treatment. He says they are thinking of opening an isolation centre for treating all those who will be found positive.

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Michael Mukiibi, the World Health Organization –WHO Coordinator for Northern Region says Care International has given 18 million shillings to Gulu City COVID -19 Taskforce to help offer psychological and basic case management support to the patients under home-based care treatment and their caregivers.