Zambia’s Information Minister Dora Siliya has told the BBC that she publicly shared her Covid-19 test results to fight stigma associated with the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.
Ms Siliya said that she was afraid the stigma would impede the fight against the virus-like it did for HIV in Zambia. Ms Siliya said she felt that if her test results had leaked it would undermine the fight against stigma.
“I felt if I did not share my status in terms of the COVID, people will be treating this the same way they do with HIV.
The minister said some Zambians still don’t believe Covid-19 is real. She said the behavioral change has only been seen among the elite in the city, but those in rural areas still think coronavirus only affects those who travel abroad.
“There are people who still think it is a disease for those other people.”
And Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional head for Africa, has praised Ms. Siliya for being open and sharing important information on COVID-19 risk and prevention measures.
Ms Moeti said “Such candor is vital to the fighting stigma around the virus. I wish you a speedy recovery,”
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zambia is 920, with 7 deaths and 336 recoveries.