KOTA KINABALU, Nov 8 — A former COVID-19 patient, Hartini Azmi, 37, has set up a Facebook page under the name ‘COVID-19 Survivor Sabah’ to eliminate the stigma in the society towards ex-COVID-19 patients.
The Facebook page shares the experiences of COVID-19 patients who have recovered and are back in the society, but whose presence is not welcomed.
Hartini, who set up the Facebook page last month, said having experienced the situation herself, she felt the need to make the public aware that ex-COVID-19 patients are not a threat in the society, hence, they should not be ‘feared’ or avoided,
The woman, who is from Kampung Maasak, Keningau, shared one on her experiences. It was at a hair salon where she had to wait for a long time to be attended to because the hairdressers there were afraid to do her hair for fear of getting the COVID-19 virus from her.
“I waited for so long for my hair to be washed, but no one came. It turned out that they were scared that I might (still) be carrying the virus,” she told Bernama when contacted here, today.
Since the page was created, many COVID-19 patients, including those who have recovered, shared their stories and experiences, and many of the netizens emphatised with them and their families.
Hartini also initiated a Whatsapp group to motivate patients, as well as shared safety tips on her days in quarantine, with them.
Meanwhile, Ella Hipin, 36, from Kampung Bariawa Ulu, Keningau, who also tested positive with COVID-19, as well as a few other members of her family, said they were looked upon like “angels of death”.
“The pressure from the society is more distressful than knowing that I was infected with the COVID-19 virus,” she added.
She said the most painful incident was when she ordered for groceries that was advertised by one of her friends on Whatsapp groups.
“When the person knew the order was from us, we were told that there were no more of the items we wanted,” she said, adding that a similar situation was faced by her other family members who were only persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.
Flavia Pius, 38, from Tambunan, said she was emotionally affected when an image of her in an ambulance, after she was found positive with COVID-19, became viral.
“I was really depressed, and it made me feel worse when I got to know that even the delivery persons were scared to go near my car.
“However, the situation has changed now, probably due to better public awareness on COVID-19,” she added.