I was tested for Covid-19 last Sunday after the government directive on mass testing at work, so I didn’t really have a choice.
I work at a company that has reported some cases and to be honest, it would have been selfish of me not to get tested as I want to protect my family and people around me.
Nevertheless, after watching the videos that have circulated on the overall testing process, I was pretty scared about being tested. I did not want a swab up my nostril, it seemed painful and uncomfortable, but it had to be done.
First, the swab was inserted up my right nostril, into my nasal passage. The second swab was rubbed along the back of my throat (in both cases I resisted a bit) which made my experience less painful because the swab didn’t go all the way in.
The nurse who obviously picked up on my discomfort started asking me random questions to distract me. Within a few seconds, the swab was removed. I would not describe the experience as painful but rather irritating especially the nasopharyngeal swab . Although my nose felt weird for a few hours after the test, it really wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it would be.
I am fortunate to have been tested for free at work. Even though mass testing is important in the fight against covid-19, there are other social issues that need to be addressed for instance;
Stigmatization and Spreading of false information
Please stop forwarding furphy information. This not only contributes to spreading of rumors but also creates tension and fear among the public. Social media has been used as a breeding ground for propaganda and conspiracies on the virus. Before you share any information, ask yourself is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Remember to only share Covid-19 information verified by World Health Organization/ Ministry of Health.
It is upon us to educate ourselves and others with facts about the virus. You can do this through research and reading up on the virus from reliable sources. Do not accept every information received about the virus as the gospel truth.
We have seen instances of public stigmatization among specific populations and the rise of harmful stereotypes (as we have seen with Kenyans living in China).
Our company is facing stigmatization. We get yelled at, secluded and discriminated when in public areas. We avoid wearing uniform because of the stigma that comes with it. In addition, the constant phone calls we get from people is insane. People should know we are waiting for updates from the Ministry like any other diligent citizen. We do not have exclusive information on the emerging cases of the virus.
Stigmatization potentially contributes to more severe health problems, ongoing transmission, and difficulties controlling infectious diseases during an epidemic. Although the concerns over the virus are understandable, the stereotypes and exclusions are not.
Pandemics remind us of how connected we all are. Our shared vulnerability to this virus is a source of solidarity. We must remember that the virus — not people with Covid-19 or affected by Covid-19 — is the enemy.
STOP THE STIGMA!
Let us keep safe by:
- Staying at home.
- Wearing a mask when in a public area.
- Washing hands with soap and sanitizing regularly