Stigmatization continues to be the next hurdle to be crossed in Ghana’s COVID-19 fight as more people continue to suffer the fate.
The menace has taken a new twist as journalists in the frontline who interact with COVID-19 patients, even under strict guidance by health professionals continue to suffer stigma just as the COVID-19 patients themselves.
After JoyNews’ Latif Iddrisu who suffered the fate even from his colleague journalists at The Mutimedia Group, Umaru Sanda Amadu of Citi TV/radio is the next media practitioner to suffer same.
Narrating his traumatizing experience in an interview on AbenaKwabena TV, Umaru Sanda noted that he is surprised he has had to suffer the fate of some other journalists whose only wrong was to report the news.
Admitting his fear at the initial moments before the interview, the journalist was cheered up for the interview after reconciling that this was part of risks involved in the line of work as a journalist.
“I think I’m the first journalist to whoever opened up Ghana’s COVID-19 treatment centres to Ghanaians at the Dome Kwabenya area. I went on a tour of the hospital and this hospital has only COVID-19 patients. I mean when I was entering, I was thinking I will see people lying and coughing in bed waiting to die. I was scared but determined to do the story. That’s the job of the journalist. I geared up not that much just gloves and facemask and I moved in. There were so many COVID-19 patients and because of how we have been told about the disease, even for people who do not have, we are to stay away from them, how much more people who have it,” he narrated.
He continued, “I got the opportunity to interview a patient and I got close to him. I realised for the first time, a lot of narratives have been faulty about COVID-19.”
Commenting on the ordeal he passed through after his interview was aired, he recounted how his colleague journalists, whether seriously or jovially, warned him not to come too close to them concluding that he has the virus already.
He further added how other friends and family members even failed to talk to him on phone for fear of being infected with the virus.
“There were people who were afraid of me simply because I have gone to interview a COVID-19 patient. I recall some colleagues whether jovially or seriously saying in the office “Sanda don’t come close to me, you have the thing already.” People who watched on TV called me and said, Charlie, I hope you have bathed in acid or sanitizer before going home. People were saying they won’t even talk to me on the phone because I have it already,” he revealed.
Umaru Sanda is urging all to come together in fighting the stigma associated with COVID-19 highlighting the challenges COVID-19 patients are faced with on a daily basis.
“If just a journalist doing the interviews is going through this stigma, I wonder what will happen to patients,” he expressed.
Watch Umaru Sanda’s full interview on AbenaKwabena TV below