Experts give tips on how to deal with Ebola stigma

What you need to know:

  • A WHO report acknowledges that looking after an Ebola patient can also take a toll on caregivers and family members mentally and physically. They  are advised to take care of themselves first so as to care for others.”Ms Sheila Musoke, a counsellor, says caregivers and family members should read a lot about Ebola and observe the standard operating procedures.  

The confirmation of an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease has caused fear and worry among some sections of the public due to its highly contagious nature.
According to the World Health Organisation, the disease can easily be transmitted through close contact with blood, secretions or other bodily fluids.
The bleeding from body openings, high grade fever and multiple organ failure brought about by infections is what often causes death among patients, Dr Alex Kakoraki of Murchison Bay Hospital, told Monitor on Wednesday.

Dr Kakoraki advised that in circumstances an individual develops other symptoms, including diarrhoea .fatigue, chest pain and yellowing of the eyes, they need medical check-up.
“Going to a health facility will ensure that one gets the correct diagnosis,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Health, the Ebola outbreak in Mubende is of the Sudan variant. 
Since there is no vaccine against the Sudan strain, medical experts are continuously urging the public to take extreme caution.
Counselling psychologists have urged patients to include therapy sessions as well.
“Doctors need to be careful with the way they handle diagnoses of Ebola patients. If one is found sick, the news should not just be broken to them. The patient should first be counselled before they are informed, they are not well,” Mr Ali Male, a counselling psychologist in Kampala, told this publication yesterday.

Mr Male said if patients are not counselled, they feel lonely and scared, which sparks off self-stigma.
“This occurs when the patients start perceiving themselves in a negative light by nurturing feelings of shame, fear and seclusion,” he said.
Ms Sheila Musoke, a counsellor, said  self-pity often gives them a lesser chance of fighting the disease,
“The patient needs to remain very hopeful and believe that they will make it through the tumultuous waves,” she advised.

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