After contracting COVID-19, Anna regularly complained of feeling poorly. She decided to see her family doctor to be examined and, if need be, receive treatment. However, as soon as the patient informed the medical practitioner about her HIV-positive status, the woman physician refused to provide medical help to Anna, her reasons being that she was “contagious” and not supposed to be among “normal people”. The doctor advised the client to seek help from the AIDS Center because she was not paid any extra compensation for dealing with “contagious” patients.
Understandably, the patient was outraged and insulted by this doctor’s attitude and behavior, which prompted her to seek help from the REActor based in a partner NGO. On the day she reached out for help, the client was assisted in accessing psychological support and escorted by a social worker to another health care facility, where the patient-friendly doctor duly provided the girl with professional medical guidance.
In addition, a statement was prepared and submitted to the management of the health care facility where the incident occurred to make sure that necessary steps are taken and no other patients have to experience similar stigma and discrimination by health professionals in the future. Following this move, disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand was taken against the doctor concerned. Additionally, other employees had to undertake appropriate training on how to prevent stigma and discrimination as a major barrier to treatment.