Metrics details. Stigmatization creates an unnecessary culture of secrecy and silence based on ignorance and fear of victimization. A descriptive cross sectional study was designed to collect data using an anonymous self-administered structured questionnaire from HCWs. The study was conducted in clinical departments of a large multidisciplinary bed tertiary care teaching hospital in Durban, KZN. The study also revealed that patients were sometimes tested for HIV without informed consent before surgery, due to fear of being infected, and there was some gossiping about patients' HIV status by HCWs, thereby compromising patient confidentiality.
COVIDrelated discrimination and stigma: a global phenomenon?
While the topic is being increasingly addressed worldwide, especially in Western cultures, there is still a stigma that surrounds it. Although stigma is a familiar concept within the field of mental health, the concept is one of great complexity and more often than not tends to be over-simplified. The term is often used to address negative attitudes, actions, and beliefs that are related to mental health aspects, but what also needs to be addressed is the social power structure that facilitates this stigma. Stigmatization of mental illness is an increasingly observed phenomenon, which has thus increased public awareness of the topic and consequently the extent of stigmatization and the inquiry into this phenomenon. Addressing this topic corresponds to a pressing social need as rates of mental illness are steadily increasing and stigmatization of disorders may have devastating effects on both the individual, mostly in terms of recognition and help-seeking, which has impacts on society as a whole. Globally, mental health problems are the single most critical issue that young people face today McGorry, Goldstone, Parker, et al.
Many people do not understand how mental illness occurs, how it presents itself, or what people with mental illness are like. Because of this lack of understanding, stigmatization of mental illness occurs. The stigma associated with mental illness presents itself in two main forms: public stigma, which is the view that society holds, and self stigma, which is the prejudice that people with mental illness hold against themselves Corrigan and Watson. Both forms of stigma are harmful.
COVID has provoked a series of discriminatory acts across continents, with different groups as targets. In this article, 10 UNESCO Chairs dealing with human rights and social inclusion provide insights as to how this global phenomenon manifests itself in their countries. The article is not exhaustive. Its purpose is to help illustrate, through local experiences reported by the Chairs, the plurality of forms that discrimination and stigma related to COVID may take in different contexts.