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Recovered COVID-19 patient slams stigmatisation

Fred Drah, the first Ghanaian in Ghana to come clean on his COVID-19-positive status, talked to the Asaase Breakfast Show about illness and its unintended consequences

A recovered COVID-19 patient, Fred Drah, has called for the intensification of public education on the virus to quell the stigma increasingly associated with the disease.

Drah, who is 51 years old, bemoaned the way in which people who, like himself, have recovered from the virus, is being treated.

He says if this trend is allowed to persist among the people, it will be difficult to win the fight against the disease, as people who test positive would keep their status secret and spread it around.

Suicidal tendencies

The now self-appointed anti-stigmatisation ambassador, who was speaking on the Asaase Breakfast Show on Asaase Radio 99.5, narrated how he has suffered suicidal tendencies and thoughts because of the severity of attacks by people who learn of his situation.

‘’I recall some time ago, I went to town and when I returned home, in fact, the stigma was so severe that I nearly killed myself.

“I thank God that my psychologist called me on that day. That call was what prevented me from taking my life,’’ the impassioned Drah told the show’s hosts, Kojo Mensah and Nana Yaa Mensah.

Name-calling

He said the situation has affected him and his whole family socially, emotionally and economically.

He has had to endure name-calling and other untoward actions from sections of the public, he said.

Mr Drah said his predicament is made still worse by how difficult it has been to fend for and feed his family. He works as a taxi driver but people who are aware of his situation refuse to patronise his services.

The whole family has been equally stigmatised and he is afraid of what will happen to his children when they return to school later this month.

Drah is urging prominent Ghanaians who have recovered from the coronavirus to speak up with one voice against the stigmatisation associated with it.

Profile in courage

“It is good for those who have tested positive and recovered, especially the minister [Kwaku Agyeman-Manu] and other prominent Ghanaians … to come out.

“Let us forget about the stigma and think about the well-being of the Ghanaian people. Let us together educate the masses on the need to stop stigmatisation and focus on preventing the virus from spreading.

“We need courageous people,” Drah said.

Kennedy Mornah

* Asaase Radio 99.5 FM – now live on your radio. Tune in or log on to live streaming.

* Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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