JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The social stigma associated with Covid-19 in Indonesia is getting in the way of efforts to see people going to health facilities for testing.
There is shame resulting from the stigma, said Turro Wongkaren, Covid-19 Task Force Expert Team for Behavior Change. This has caused some Indonesians to avoid explaining the actual symptoms of their ailment, making it difficult to break the chain of transmission, he added.
“The first stigma is the feeling of self-shame if one person in the family ended up transmitting the virus to their working parents or if they caused a family member to fall ill. The individual feels ashamed to have been the spreader of the virus in the family.”
The second stigma of Covid-19 in Indonesia involves the general public’s perception of virus-stricken patients.
Both Covid-19 stigmas are disappointing and run deep in Indonesian society, according to Turro.
He explained that although the public view on Covid-19 patients has improved, the more predominant stigma involves self-shaming.
“There are plenty of people who harbor internal fears.”
With the coronavirus pandemic nearing its one-year anniversary in Indonesia since it was first announced in March 2020, Turro said that the public has become numb to the thought of the virus.
When the virus first spread, Indonesians felt afraid and removed themselves from situations that would put them at risk of being infected, however, that has since changed.
“What I have noticed is that the public has slowly opened up to the idea of the virus as they recognize that it only requires medical treatment.”
One of the factors that have pushed the public to become bolder in facing Covid-19 in Indonesia is due to financial pressures.
Many are preoccupied with figuring out how to earn a living and provide for their family if they are forced to be isolated for an undetermined duration in a healthcare facility.
“Most of them understand that getting the Covid-19 virus may bring hardships to their family, but they choose to ignore it as often as possible. Instead, they hope that they won’t be infected.”
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