Ivana Waweru: The fight against stigmatization during this Coronavirus pandemic starts with you.

By Shadrack Andenga Odinga

shadrackandenga@gmail.com

Ruben Centre’s psychologist Miss Ivana Waweru has urged the Kenyan public to fight stigmatization by starting with themselves.

Speaking exclusively to Ruben Fm’s Gumzo Mtaani Show Ivana criticized societies in Africa for being too negative.

“Most of the perpetrators are people who have experienced awkward behaviors during their childhood and upbringing. It is a cultured behavior that has been learnt from home and practiced over the years to a point of being a norm. Parents should pay much attention to how they raise their children in actions and words,” the psychologist said.

Ivana added that most people in African societies have lacked emotional appraisals hence grow up in a way that spreads negativity in life generally.

Stigmatization is currently ripe at this particular time that Kenya is facing challenges arising from the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Kenyan government hasn’t made it easier with the way they treat Coronavirus patients.

“The way the government is treating Coronavirus victims is causing panic among the public. The message that they are sending is that this is something very crucial. I think they should send a message of hope that this virus is not a death sentence. People yes can get it, but also see the number of people who have recovered from it,” a jubilant Ivana said.

Information also has been critical during this Corona virus pandemic, with most Kenyans especially in informal settlements and in rural areas not knowing exactly what to do.

The government has psychologists that are supposed to attend to survivors, but a closer look reveals that these services have not been publicized and made open to the Kenyan public.

The situation has been made worse by the fact that survivors don’t know how to handle situations of stigmatization which have resulted in stress and depression.

“This is what actually can kill you. If society doesn’t have good support systems, survivors will be depressed and might end up killing themselves.” Ivana finalized by urging African societies to change their mentality of how they see things especially in times of pandemics.

Stigmatization during this Coronavirus pandemic has been real, but only a few have come out to speak against it simply because in Kenya some things are seen as taboos.

Now all eyes are back on the Kenyan government to see if they can come up with a campaign against stigmatization with the greater public getting educated.

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