Scarlett Letter: A study based on experience of stigma by COVID-19 patients in quarantine

  • Nazish Imran KEMU
  • Hadia Afzal Postgraduate Resident, Academic Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Irum Aamer Senior Registrar, Academic Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Ali Madeeh Hashmi Associate Professor, Academic Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Bilquis Shabbir Chairperson and Professor, Department of Medicine, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Aftab Asif Chairman and Professor, Professor, Academic Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University/Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Saeed Farooq. Professor of Psychiatry and Public Mental Health, School of Primary, Community and Social Care ,Keele University and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Staffordshire, UK
Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Discrimination, Stigma, Pakistan, Global efforts

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Stigma around COVID-19 is a major barrier in global efforts to control the COVID 19 pandemic. Limited data is available regarding stigma faced by COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The aim of the current study was to explore the stigma experienced by hospitalized patients with COVID-19 illness in Lahore, Pakistan.

Methods: Following Institutional Review Board approval and informed consent, patients were assessed using modified HIV short form stigma scale and open-ended questions. Questions focused on experiences, feelings, and opinions as to how patients feel and how they were treated prior to and during the hospitalization. Data analysis for quantitative data was performed using SPSS-20, while qualitative responses were interpreted by content analysis method.

Results: One hundred and fourteen patients were interviewed (Mean age 38.8 years + 15.3) with 53.5% being males. Widespread experience of stigma was reported by patients particularly for concerns about public attitudes (7.43 + 1.43) & disclosure (6.89 + 1.45). Main themes which emerged from the qualitative responses were social stigma and rejection, humiliating behaviour of others, breach of confidentiality, loss of trust/ respect, and impact of COVID-19 diagnosis on their business.

Conclusions: Existence of significant stigma among COVID-19 patients isolated in a tertiary care hospital in a LMIC highlights the need for culturally sensitive strategies to address it.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.7.3606

How to cite this:
Imran N, Afzal H, Aamer I, Hashmi A, Shabbir B, Asif A, et al. Scarlett Letter: A study based on experience of stigma by COVID-19 patients in quarantine. Pak J Med Sci. 2020;36(7):1471-1477. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.7.3606

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published
2020-10-17
How to Cite
Imran, N., Afzal, H., Aamer, I., Hashmi, A., Shabbir, B., Asif, A., & Farooq., S. (2020). Scarlett Letter: A study based on experience of stigma by COVID-19 patients in quarantine. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 36(7). https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.7.3606
Section
Original Articles