The pandemic has resulted in stigma and discrimination against people affected with COVID-19 infection, their families, and even healthcare providers treating them and people providing other essential services. This further aggravates the problem as people refrain to come out for testing and treatment for the fear of getting discriminated.
To address this challenge, MoHFW invited development partners including NIPI for technical and programmatic support. In consensus with development partners, MOHFW identified the National Anti-stigma and Discrimination Campaign as a key strategy. The objectives of the campaign were to raise social awareness for combating stigma; creating an enabling environment for people with symptoms to seek help and go for testing for COVID-19; and show solidarity, encouragement and support to all healthcare workers and sanitation staff on COVID-19 line of duty.
To identify activities for each development partner, an implementation plan has been devised. NIPI has committed to support following areas of the strategy:
- Technical inputs on guidance notes/ SOPs, modules prepared by MOHFW nodal person for S&D campaign and lead agency (UNICEF)
- Supporting Identification of COVID Heroes and dissemination of their positive experiences through human interest stories in the form of video/ audio bytes, photo stories and articles in 3 NIPI supported states
All the five States/UT teams of NIPI were oriented about the campaign and materials needed to be developed. State teams have shared many human interest stories in the form of video bytes, pictures and short articles which are being further developed into social media creatives at national level. These creatives are further shared with MOHFW as well as state health societies for dissemination at their respective social media platforms. These stories showcase the feat of healthcare workers working to tackle the pandemic and words of encouragement for them from people. Through this medium, NIPI is also trying to raise awareness about showing empathy for those affected with COVID-19. NIPI social media handles too are being used for this purpose.