Lagos - The Lagos State Government has declared its intention to prosecute any person, group or organization that stigmatized a patient who had been treated of the Ebola disease and duly discharged.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who made Government’s intention known while giving an update on the EVD in the state, directed any concerned person who has experienced stigmatization to petition the Attorney-General of the State from where the Government would take up the case.
Noting that there had been "one or two" cases of such stigmatization in the state, the commissioner named such cases as eviction of contacts or treated patients from their places of accommodation, such persons being asked to stay away from work or outright termination of employment of such persons.
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He reiterated that infection by Ebola Virus was not a death sentence and appealed to members of the public, including employers of labour, to desist from stigmatizing persons or laying off their workers who either have been treated and given a clean bill of health or are contacts under surveillance describing the action as unfair and an infringement on their fundamental right to freedom of association and employment.
According to the commissioner, “Stigmatization may further make contacts and suspects to go underground. This may bring about the reversal of the gains we have already made; because such contacts and suspects may not come out and if they don’t come out, they jeopardize the life of those they come in contact with, including their families.”
“We want to emphasize that the Ministry of Justice will take up any case of stigmatization. Anybody, either a discharged patient or a contact being followed up, who feels any form of stigmatization, should petition the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General and we will take it up from there,” he said.
Idris also advised all contacts or suspected cases to adhere to instructions of the medical task force team, especially the instruction not to travel out of their locations, in order to facilitate easy surveillance adding that there is need for suspected cases to come out in time in order to enhance their chances of survival and cure.
- CAJ News