By Amin Kef Sesay – Ranger
After recovering from COVID-19, a Sierra Leonean health worker, Dalanda Bah expresses concern over the stigmatisation of the disease and its attendant negative impact on patients who often runaway from quarantined homes. She warned people who take that decision to rethink their actions as they have the potential to spread the virus to their communities and families.
Reliving her experience, Dalanda said “I was Covid-19 positive. By the Mercy of Allah, I have recovered. Yes I had all the symptoms but did not need a ventilator. Yes it was devastating. I still feel uncomfortable sometimes, but Alhamdu lillaah I am good.”
She disclosed that declaring her status in public is her own way of eliminating the stigma/shame/ and the “worry about what people will think of me” issue. She advised people in Sierra Leone who are hiding from the public because they do not want to be labelled or that they may be laughed at, or worst, that they do not want to be isolated or quarantined, so they runaway, that such actions are very irresponsible. They have the propensity to spread the virus to their families and loved ones, neighbours and the country.
She called on them to do their country and loved ones a favour and quarantine. “Remember that BEFORE you began to notice the symptoms, you have already contaminated other people. So to ensure that you do not continue to spread the virus, you must stay quarantined,” she said.
She admonished those who are fearful of quarantine that the 14 days quarantine is supposed to be from the day they begin to feel the symptoms or as soon as they realize that they were exposed. This is more accurate in order to make sure that when someone is declared free, he has fully recovered before mingling with others. She reminded the public that “everybody is a potential carrier of the virus, so keep more than 6 feet away and stay in your homes”.
It should be borne in mind that there is no cure for Covid-19 except staying away from people. Also, there is no medical research right now that says that those who have had the virus will not get recontaminated. It is therefore important that people should cover their noses and mouths, wash their hands thoroughly, disinfect their phones, keys and hand bags and as soon as they enter their homes, take off their shoes outside.