Tackling COVID-19 Fear and Stigma

In Burkina Faso, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a variety of reactions among some Ouagadougou residents that have complicated efforts for a timely response. Hesitancy to get tested, avoiding contact tracers, or wariness of what the neighbors will say are some of these reactions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the government to provide guidance to tackle stigma as well as support other aspects of the COVID-19 response, which is further explained in this article.

Source: Tackling COVID-19 Fear and Stigma

    Stigma During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Stigma associated with COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the lives of healthcare workers, patients, and survivors of the disease.

    In May 2020, a community of advocates comprising of 13 medical and humanitarian organisations including, among others, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the the International Hospital Federation, and World Medical Association issued a declaration that condemned more than 200 incidents of COVID-19 related attacks on healthcare workers and health facilities during the ongoing pandemic.

    Source: Stigma During the COVID-19 Pandemic

      What Can You Do to Fight Stigma associated with COVID-19?

      Stigma can isolate people, prevent them from seeking medical care, and adopt healthy behaviors. This short video aims to learn more about how one can help to tackle stigma associated with COVID-19.

      Source: What Can You Do to Fight Stigma associated with COVID-19?

        Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders

        This Guide aims to help orient people supporting the COVID-19 response to integrate psychosocial support skills into their daily work, thereby making a difference to the well-being of people they come into contact with during the pandemic. More specifically, the Guide is intended for health and social workers; emergency responders; people working in food stores, public transport, funeral parlours and pharmacies; employers and managers; and people who are providing support to vulnerable family members or members of their community.

        The illustrated chapters provide practical advice for taking care of one’s own mental well-being, communicating with empathy, and helping people suffering from stress or severe distress. Case studies and tips to remember are included throughout.

        Source: Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders

        • Tyler Best
        • tylerbest@jhu.edu

        Social Media COVID-19 Anti-Stigma Cards

        This social media card was created to counter stigma and discrimination towards COVID-19 patients. This was shared through the Facebook Page of the Department of Health.

        Source: Social Media COVID-19 Anti-Stigma Cards

          Disrupting COVID-19 Stigma: Technical Brief

          This short guide includes important considerations and resources to support country programs in recognizing and working to reduce stigma around COVID-19.

          Source: Disrupting COVID-19 Stigma – Technical Brief

            Breakthrough ACTION Ethiopia COVID-19 Campaign

            Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) had prioritized  Ethiopia, among 13 African countries, as the most vulnerable countries for importation of COVID-19. A recent Lancet publication reiterated this by describing Ethiopia as a highly vulnerable country with substantially larger population potential exposed yet with moderate capacity to contain the spread of the infection.

            Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) is an essential component of health emergency readiness and response activities. The Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI) has been proactively working on emergency readiness and response activities on COVID-19 since late January 2020. The Emergency Operation Center (EOC), housed in EPHI and usually activated during public health emergencies in the country, started its work by establishing a technical working group (TWG) on RCCE comprised of different stakeholders and health development partners.

            Breakthrough ACTION Ethiopia is working closely with EPHI on COVID-19. To date, efforts have included technical assistance, training, tool development, and risk communication materials design, and logistical support to EPHI. The scope also includes focused support to the RCCE TWG, coordination on preparedness and response activities among several implementing partners, and training for Ethiopian Airlines flight and ground crew, as well as urban health extension workers and religious leaders.

            Thus far, the project has produced the following materials:

            • PSAs for  Amhara, Central, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray:
              • Prevention methods
              • Misconceptions
              • Avoiding panic
              • Social distancing
              • Stigma

            Source (Amharic – Amhara, Central):

            Source (Oromo):

            Source (Amharic – SNNPR):

            Source: (Tigrigna):

            • Print materials for Amhara, Central, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray:
              • Brochures and posters for general population
              • Brochures for hotel staff
              • Posters for travelers (bus and train stations)
              • Stickers for inside buses and trains
              • Proper hand-washing stickers for washrooms
              • Hand-washing reminders

            Source (Amhara): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Amhara

            Source (Central): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Central

            Source (Oromia): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Oromia

            Source (SNNPR): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – SNNPR

            Source (Tigray): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Tigray

            COVID-19 Key Tips and Discussion Points

            This guide was created to help community workers, volunteers and community networks to provide timely and actionable health information, so that people know how to protect themselves and stay healthy.

            It offers three steps:

            Step 1: How to Engage – Simple tips for interacting with communities
            Step 2: Ask the right questions – Key guidance for community discussions, including addressing stigma and xenophobia
            Step 3: What to say – Essential knowledge to share with communities and Frequently Asked Questions that can guide a discussion

              Stigma and Resilience (CDC)

              It is important to remember that people – including those of Asian descent – who do not live in or have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of spreading COVID-19 than other Americans.

              Source: Stigma and Resilience (CDC)

                Social Stigma Associated with COVID-19

                This guide was designed for government and media organizations to educate them about the problems of social stigma associated with COVID-19.

                It includes “do’s and don’ts” regarding language when speaking about the virus, suggested wording, and reasons for stigma during the COVID-19 crisis.


                Source: Social Stigma Associated with COVID-19