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‘Lack of knowledge causing stigmatization’

- says Chinese public health expert

February 4, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

A member of the Chinese Public Health Team has opined that stigmatization and discrimination of Ebola survivors was due to misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of the virus by communities.

Dr.  Xu Jie told Concord Times that a large number of people from various communities across the country have little or no knowledge about the virus and how it is transmitted, the reason they stigmatise and ostracise survivors.

“If people are aware about the Ebola virus disease, they can be able to advise people not to discriminate and stigmatize Ebola survivors. Those in communities will not stigmatize or discriminate those that have survived the virus if they have the knowledge and understanding about Ebola,” Dr. Jie said.

According to him, community people fear that those that have survived the virus could still infect others and that if they embrace or go close to them they would contract the virus.

He noted that the training on prevention and control which the Chinese medical team is conducting in some of the Ebola hit districts across the country would help people know how to treat survivors.

“Community people should know that those that have survived the virus will not contract it again,” he emphasised. “We believe that our training on prevention and control will help participants to treat survivors well instead of stigmatizing them.”

Dr. Jie stated that their training focuses more on what people should know about the disease and how to prevent it, adding that people tend not to be cooperative in the fight because some of the districts are yet to implement issues of surveillance, quarantining of people, case filing and reporting methods properly.

He concluded by stating that communities were not fully sensitized or mobilized and that the virus would only be defeated when people become fully aware and educated about it.

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