“Fight the virus, not people”

A call by 24 year old Robbie from Indonesia. It’s one of many calls voiced by young people globally to fight stigma and discrimination arising because of the COVID 19 epidemic.

Voices of Youth ( https://www.voicesofyouth.org/ ) is collating stories from
contributors around the world to spread kindness and support to not allow COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia. The site has excellent illustrations, sparks and stories submitted by young people on the site and you can also share your messages of support, comics or poems against stigma and discrimination through the Voices of Youth website. Voices of Youth is UNICEF’s digital community FOR YOUTH, BY YOUTH.

On the same note I was heartened to see the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India ( MOHFW ) produce an awareness video to address stigma. Interviews with doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) highlight why stigma and discrimination as a result of COVID-19 is misplaced. I was heartened to see that stigma as an issue has featured early on in the Government of India’s efforts against the novel Coronavirus and not as an afterthought.

We at Kushal played our own part, albeit small but important. We stepped up our work with focus on COVID in March 2019. Little was known then. Yet, we thought responding with urgency despite our limitations was warranted. Other stakeholders in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh did the same and we joined hands to make as much information as possible available to pregnant women. It was despairing to see the anxiety.

Fight the virus, COVID-19 and pregnancy education session in hospital

Fight the virus, not people!