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Stigmatisation, criminalisation prevent data accuracy on suicide rate – Psychiatrist

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A Professor of Psychiatry, Oye Gureje, says that stigmatisation and criminalisation of suicide has made it difficult to get accurate data and figure on suicide rate in the country.

Gureje, of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, spoke with the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Ibadan against the backdrop of the 2019 World Suicide Prevention Day.

reports that the theme for this year’s Day “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” seeks to highlight the most essential ingredients for effective global suicide prevention.

According to the professor, lack of accurate data and compulsory death registration negatively affect suicide prevention strategies.

Gureje said: “Firstly, suicide is a highly stigmatised problem in the country and so we do not really know how many people are killing themselves.

“What we do know are the ones that get reported in the media and I can tell you this is just a tip of the iceberg because most people who have relatives who have killed themselves will hide such incidents.

“Also, there is no compulsory registration of death in Nigeria. So people can die without anybody knowing what might have killed them.

“To that extent, there may be many more people killing themselves which we may not know,” he said.

The psychiatrist said that to help more people to come forward on suicide cases, the Federal Government should decriminalise attempted suicide and review the mental health law.

“The law currently guiding mental health practice is very archaic and that same law also criminalises attempted suicide, punishable by one year imprisonment.

“This is a shame because attempted suicide is a sign of mental illness and
mental illness is just like any other medical condition which can be treated,” he said.

According to him, suicidal thoughts and attempts are results of depression, feeling of hopelessness, intense emotional pain, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The primary healthcare system is the closest to the people and the cheapest in providing accessible care.

“The federal government should initiate policies that will provide basic training to primary healthcare providers in order for them to provide treatment for common mental health problems and help reduce the public health burden of mental illnesses,” he said.

reports that globally, one person takes his/her own life every 40 seconds, according to the WHO report released on its website on September 9.

BA/WAS

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

Environment

COVID-19: CSO cautions Nigerians against stigmatisation, misinformation

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Amb. Ahmed Shehu, Chairman, Northeast Civil Society Network, a CSO, on Friday warned Nigerians against stigmatisation of coronavirus (COVID-19), patients that either tested negative or positive, but had been discharged.

Shehu, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria , in an interview in Abuja, also warned against the dangers misinformation on the global pandemic posed, saying it could lead to more health challenges.

According to him, the rise in harmful stereotyping, stigmatisation and pervasive misinformation related to COVID-19, can further complicate the already serious situation.

“Stigmatisation can increase the ongoing transmission, and this can make it difficult for the disease to be controlled.

“Stigma and misinformation can increase the likelihood of potential infected persons”fear of seeking immediate medical attention.

“It will also encourage the patients to hide, instead of boldly coming forward for medical help,” he said.

Shehu urged Nigerians to support broader dissemination of public health messages and ensure that such information reached marginalised and vulnerable communities.

He said the information must be based on reliable scientific data and the latest official health advice.

The chairman noted however, that some Nigerians were being fed information that could be more deadly than COVID-19, adding that such act should be discouraged.

“While disseminating any COVID-19 information, make sure you use simple language and avoid clinical terms and abbreviations, this will help the vulnerable communities to understand the message clearly.

“Also, ensure that reliable and accurate information is provided at community level. All these measures will prevent stigmatisation, misinformation, as well as promote the importance of proper prevention,” he advised.

Shehu, who also the member representing civil society in the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, advised Nigerians to always report any symptoms or cases of COVID-19 to appropriate authorities for immediate medical action.

He said that the organisation’s objective was to  support effective and massive awareness creation on COVID-19 in various communities to curb spread.

He said it was in line with this that the organisation collaborated with UNICEF and Borno State Government, to train 25 community-based organisations and 350 volunteers on COVID-19 sensitisation in the state.

He said that the intervention greatly impacted on more than 94 communities and three local government areas in the state.

Edited By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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COVID-19 : Kebbi advises public against stigmatisation

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The Kebbi State Government  on Tuesday advised the public against stigmatising COVID-19 patients, who are discharged after treatment.

Malam Yahaya Sarki, Special Adviser to  the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Anikulapo-Bagudu, made the appeal in a statement in Birnin-Kebbi.

Sarki urged members of the public to desist from stigmatising patients, who have just been discharged, accept  them and help to integrate them into their communities.

He said that Alhaji Jaafar Mohammed, Chairman, Kebbi State Task Force on COVID-19, made the appeal to the public at a Press Conference in Kebbi .

Mohammed said that the state’s first index COVID-19 case, who was admitted had been discharged.

“Today, we are witnessing the formal discharge of our index case of COVID-19, after undergoing isolation regimen for two weeks.

“Follow-up tests were carried out two consecutive times  and the two results turned-out to be negative.

“The first test came out on May 6, and a repeat of the follow-up investigation on May 9, also came out negative,” he said.

Mohammed, who is also the State Commissioner for Health,  added that  the COVID-19 patient went through the isolation regimen tests and the follow-up tests but all turned-out negative.

According to him, the discharge of the patient is a testimony that the health care  system of Kebbi State is working and the process is also on the right track.

Mohammed commended the team of  health workers, the case management and frontline workers of Kebbi Medical Centre (Kalgo Isolation Centre) for effectively managing the patient.

He also thanked the Task Force, medical workers in the state as well as Gov. Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu for providing  the Task Force  with the needed resources.

“I am glad to state that His Excellency has provided the Task Force on COVID-19 with all they need to effectively discharge their duty  in addition to provision of all the  necessary facilities at the isolation centre,” Mohammed said.

Alhaji Aminu Ahmad, Chairman of Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area, also  thanked the medical personnel for their selfless service to humanity.

Ahmad appealed to the residents  to always report  any symptom or case  of COVID-19 to the nearest hospital or medical facility to seek medical  attention.

Similarly, the Ubandoman Gwandu, Alhaji Halidu Saadu, also expressed gratitude to God for sparing the life of the patient.

Saadu,who also enjoined the residents to shun all forms of stigmatisation against the patient,  called on  the public to integrate the discharged young man into the society.

He lauded Gov. Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu on his efforts at making sure that the virus was contained in the state.

Saadu also said the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Ilyasu-Bashar,  had directed all community leaders to report any person with symptoms of  COVID-19 in their communities.

The discharged young man thanked God Almighty, the medical team  and the Kebbi State Government for the good treatment  he received at the isolation centre.

He advised other residents, especially those who had contracted the virus, to quickly report themselves, to  avoid infecting others.

Edited By: Victor Asije/ Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

 

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COVID-19: NLC to embark on awareness campaign against stigmatisation of victims

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says it will embark on a nationwide education and awareness campaign to discourage the stigmatisation of workers and Nigerians, who are COVID-19 victims.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said this was necessary in order to avoid workplace infraction and injustice.

According to him, we are aware of the backlash of COVID-19 stigmatisation, the NLC will embark on a nationwide education and awareness campaign to discourage the stigmatisation of workers and vitims of COVID-19.

“We urge every Nigerian to treat COVID-19 survivors as heroes and heroines. Such noble gesture would encourage infected cases to boldly come forward knowing that they would not be stigmatized.

“This kind of response is crucial in preventing a second wave of COVID-19  in Nigeria. We need all hands to be on deck in this regard, ” he said.

Wabba said that efforts at COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, public fumigation, environmental sanitation and robust public health education should be expanded and intensified.

He added that, in the course of the gradual relaxation of the lockdown, it is important that individual citizens and corporate organisations have both personal and collective responsibility to adhere to all health guidelines.

“We call on the leadership of our industrial unions and the state councils to continue working with the different cadres of workers’ leadership in the states and unions to ensure that health and safety facilities and guidelines are followed.

“Such as running water, soaps, hand sanitizers, use of protective masks and social distancing are made available and enforced at different workplaces.

“We encourage workers not to hesitate to contact the National Secretariat of NLC in the event of any COVID-19 related work place infraction, injustice, negligence and gender-based discrimination, ”Wabba added.

He however, added that in spite of the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply enamored by the bravery and resourcefulness of our health care professionals,  who have put their lives on the line to contain the spread of the virus.

“In spite of the relative deficit of material resources at their disposal, they have arguably recorded some of the best recovery rates in the world.

“We are immensely proud of the love, faith, courage, and sacrifice demonstrated by our frontline heroes and heroines who have certainly given more than the demand of the call of duty.

“Our gallant frontline workers have served and continue to serve as the resolute buffer between COVID-19 and mass infections cum deaths.

“We will forever be in the debt of thousands of our courageous healthcare workers, transport workers, utility employees, journalists and workers in the informal sector who have continued to show up at their duty posts despite the stare of death, dearth of working tools and paucity of gratitude.

“We condole with the families of workers who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against COVID-19. We assure you that their labours will not be in vain,” he said.

The NLC president commended the Federal Government for the insurance cover and enhanced incentives provided for frontline health workers, while urging states to do same.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Health

COVID-19: CMD cautions against stigmatisation, fake news

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Dr. Paul Okubor, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Central Hospital, Warri, has cautioned Nigerians against fake news and stigmatisation of COVID-19 patients in the society.

Okubor gave the warning while speaking with newsmen on Friday in Warri.

He said that such attitude was capable of preventing people with the symptoms to come forward for treatment and by implication spread the virus.

“Aside the routine protocols of washing hands and social distancing among others, society needs to show high level of responsibilities and sensitivity.

“We must ensure there is no stigmatisation of people with COVID-19.

“If we do not stop the stigmatisation and fake news going on in the social media, those who have the reasons to come to the hospital will not come forward because of fear of stigmatisation.

“If they do not come forward, they will continue to spread it and the society will suffer for it. So very importantly, we must stop stigmatisation and fake news,” he said.

Speaking on the rumour trending on the social media platform that a patient who is COVID-19 negative is being isolated at the hospital’s Isolation Centre, Okubor said it was not true.

According him, only those who are COVID-19 positive are brought into the Isolation Centre for treatment.

“If the test is done and the result comes out negative, it is communicated to the person and if positive, it is also communicated to the person.

“If positive, government takes responsibility by taken the patient to isolation centre for treatment.

“One, to ensure the person does not die and secondly to remove the person from the larger society so as not to spread the virus.

“If positive, those in contact with the person are traced and depending on the level of interaction with the positive case, government can say go into self isolation.

“If that is not possible, they can be taken to Isolation Centre to be properly quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

The CMD said that the patient in the hospital’s Isolation Centre was responding to treatment.

“We are not in the business of social media stigmatisation; Confidentiality of our patient is key to us in our centre, we do not release names, our business is to care for them,” Okubor said.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Environment

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 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.

“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.

(
Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)

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NAWOJ Chairperson warns against stigmatisation of COVID-19 survivors

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The Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State Chapter, on Friday advised Nigerians to refrain from stigmatising the survivors of COVID-19.

Mrs Adeola Ekine, Chairperson of the association in the state, made the appeal in a statement made available to Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

Ekine said that Nigerians needed to show love and rejoice with survivors of the Coronavirus and not stigmatise them.

Survivors of COVID-19, just like any other infectious diseases should not be stigmatised, rather, they should be encouraged and showed love, following what they had gone through while in isolation centers,” she said .

The Chairperson noted that some videos shared by those who have been infected in Lagos State was to confirm to people that Coronavirus was not a death sentence.

She commended the Lagos state Government and the health workers for their dedication, commitments and efforts in containing the virus.

She urged journalists to target children in their news coverage as it was important for them to understand what was obtainable in situations like this because they could also be infected.

“Beyond reporting about the number of deaths and those that have been infected, we need to ensure that our messages about COVID-19 target children so they can be well informed,” she said.

The chairperson reiterated the need for continuous and regular hand washing and social distancing as recommended by health professionals for everyone.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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Health

LASG discharges another 5 COVID-19 patients, advises against stigmatisation

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has confirmed the discharge of another five patients who previously tested positive to COVID-19, advising the public against stigmatising them.

Sanwo-Olu made the disclosure through his verified Twitter handle @jidesanwolu on Sunday in Lagos.

The governor advised that everyone should collaborate to support the discharged COVID-19 patients to get over their experiences as soon as possible.

“Today, I am happy to inform you that five more patients, comprising two males and three females, including a 10-year-old girl have tested negative twice to #COVID19.

“These five patients have been discharged to reunite with their families.

“This brings to a total of 29 the numbers of patients who have fully recovered and have been discharged from our facility at Yaba,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said there was strong indication that the state was winning the battle against COVID-19, adding that it was imperative to remain steadfast to curtail the spread.

He advised the citizens to continue to observe social distancing, while urging them to stay home, stay safe to save lives.

Sanwo-Olu appreciated the efforts of the health workers, members of the Lagos State Health Family and the Emergency Operation Centre for their hardwork.

He said that with collaborative efforts, the state government would soon win the battle against the COVID-19.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)

————

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Health

NEPWHAN describes Gov. Bello’s comment on HIV/AIDS as stigmatisation

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The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), says Kogi’s Gov. Yahaya Bello’s comment on HIV/AIDS is a complete violation of the anti-stigmatisation and discrimination law of 2014.

Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, who spoke on behalf of members, said HIV/AIDS was not more deadly than Corona virus (COVID-19), as presented by Bello.

Ibrahim was reacting to the governor’s comments while debunking the rumour that he was COVID-19 positive, in a short video clip that went viral.

The NEPWHAN helmsman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in an interview on Saturday in Abuja, that Bello had said anyone wishing that he contracted the disease would be infected with HIV/AIDS.

He urged the governor to immediately apologise to persons living with HIV or legal action would be instituted against him.

“How can a governor make such a stigmatising comment, as if HIV is a death sentence, or as if it is more deadly than COVID-19.

“One can embrace a HIV positive person, as well as shake their hands, but one cannot do the same to a COVID-19 patient, proving the deadly nature of the disease,” Ibrahim said.

According to him, research has proven that HIV patients could live normal lives without transmitting HIV to others, a system called; Undetectable equals Untransmissible (U=U).

He therefore, called for collective condemnation of such discriminatory remarks.

Ibrahim urged the National AIDS Control Authority (NACA), to step-up enlightenment on the challenges and nature of people living with HIV/AIDS, in order to correct negative impressions that could be created by such comments.

Edited By: Francisca Oluyole/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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Foreign

UN Chief appeals against stigmatisation over coronavirus

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has renewed his appeal against stigmatisation over the coronavirus epidemic.

In a video message on Tuesday evening, Guterres sued for kindness, empathy and global solidarity as the world battles to contain the novel virus.

The short message centres on four catchphrases around the response to the epidemic, which has claimed no fewer than 4,400 lives globally.

“A new coronavirus (COVID-19) is challenging us all. We need to be ready to take on this threat together.

“I ask all of you to: Be Safe, by following medical, scientific advice and taking simple, practical steps such as thorough hand washing and other recommendations by health authorities.   

“Be Informed  – and stay up to date with the latest guidance from your government and the World Health Organisation.

 

“Be Kind, and make sure no one faces stigma. And, together, let’s be smart and fight COVID-19 in solidarity, as United Nations,” he said.

There has been reports of suspected stigmatisation of Asians, especially Chinese from whose country the virus broke out in December.

On Friday, a video emerged on social media of what appears to be a racially-motivated crime sparked by fear of the coronavirus in a New York subway train.

In the short video, a man is seen apparently telling a fellow male passenger of Asian origin to move away, before spraying him Febreeze air freshener.

The New York Police Department said it had started investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

Isaac Aregbesola

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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