GWERU: “I was really scared because I felt like if it hit me as bad as it did last year, this time, surely I was going to die” reminisced Paidamoyo Dube as she shared her COVID-19 ordeal.
“I went through all any other COVID-19 survivor would suffer through, the imagined and unimagined; myths and myth busters, truthful and false information and even stigma,” she went on.
She also highlighted that contracting COVID-19 was not however the 26-year-old young lady as she says though people are quick to want to know who might have brought with the virus home.
“That’s not something to even argue about. When you find the culprit then what,” said Dube in rhetoric fashion.
Just like Dube, during the COVID-19 pandemic people have been exposed to information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading. Misinformation has caused confusion and led people to decline COVID-19 vaccines, reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing, and use unproven treatments.
Dube says such is the major causation of denial in patients and stigma from the society.
Testing positive along with her whole family wasn’t easy either.
“Who would encourage who? Who would look after who? It was a difficult moment for the family as we just had to be there for each other,” she said.
Facing such challenges and coming face to face with realities associated with misinformation in the COVID-19 period however did not weaken her but rather encouraged her to join the fight against the ‘info-pandemic’.
“Seeing the disaster and psychological pain I felt tops the physical pain I already had, I decided to take COVID-19 related information to my social media handles,” Dube also said.
She uses myth busters, health and safety talk and also encouragement quotes to lift up the spirits of those affected by both COVID-19 and psychological stress associated with misinformation.
“To make sure the information I share is truthful, I take a lot of time reading messages circulated by WHO and other reputable health organisations. It’s not like I know first hand information of how people may safeguard or what may be true or false but I simply share what they would have announced for further reach. To me it’s quite a big role of volunteerism,” she further said.
She has also often encouraged people to support their suffering loved ones taking from how support from the doctor who attended to her and family made her soldier on amid the stigma.
According to Social Stigma Associated with COVID-19, a 2020 document by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and IFRC, stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt possible social isolation of groups, which might contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread and can result in more severe health problems and difficulties controlling a disease outbreak.
It also states that it can make one hide their illness in a bid to avoid discrimination, which has can deter one from seeking health care immediately and discourage them from taking preventative or health requirement and this can make it difficult to contain the disease
“Having suffered all that twice, I believe I am a fighter and because of that, it was important for me to arm myself with the keyboard and further fight this pandemic,” Dube told CommuTalk.
Meanwhile, reinfections from Covid-19 continue to seem rare, and are not responsible for the current, stubbornly high case counts, according to scientists and the latest findings.
States world over neither have strong systems to determine how frequently people are getting reinfection nor do they know whether people who recover from COVID-19 develop long-term immunity.