By: Akpabli Daniel Yao/Akatsi/VR
The District Chief Executive of the Akatsi South District in the Volta Region, Leo Nelson Adzidoga has called on citizens in the district capital, Akatsi, to desist from all forms of stigmatization in the District especially towards residents in Tatorme. 
His call came weeks after residents in Akatsi Tatorme, a suburb in the district capital, have suffered various forms of stigmatization within the district due to a recorded Covid-19 positive case in the area.
He explained that, about some three weeks ago, one person was tested positive and as part of the measures, he was taken to the testing centre at the University of health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Ho, where he was treated and discharged, meanwhile  all the blood samples on the seven persons sent for examination when the contact tracing started, proved negative.
Speaking to the Finder, Mr. Adzidoga confirmed that the situation of the confirmed positive case is generating a lot of heat in the district as he agreed that, lives are been affected negatively due to the stigma on the people of Tatorme and urge citizens as a matter of urgency to stop the stigmatization
The confusion
He said, the confusion came at the time where the information about the recorded positive case was widely circulated in three phases in the social media. 
“Phase one came earlier before the official communication to my outfit and without mentioning my office. The second one followed mentioning that it was issued from my office and the last one came from the health directorate”. He explained.
He further narrated that “before we were informed about this case, some of the social media platforms broke the news. The Director was surprised when he called to inform me about the situation and I told him I had the information. I then saw the need to get the victim out of the suburb before we continue with the contact tracing so I quickly had a meeting with the chief of the area after which the director for Ghana health service also met them and finally, they allowed the contact tracing to go on. Basically, we wouldn’t have allowed the specific area to be mentioned but it was very unfortunate this happened”.
Contact tracing
Mr. Adzidoga was of the view that enough consultation was done by all stakeholders before any action was taken in this whole case.
“the health directorate organized meeting for the chiefs, elders and opinion leaders, the assembly members and the unit committee in the area on the issue but earlier on, I met the chief of the area and we talked about this”
He said, it was after this consultation that they allowed the contact tracing to go on even though it may not be exhaustive.
He noted that what they have done so far is bringing results in terms of allowing the health workers to go on and take samples to ascertain whether there are traces of this virus after the patient was taken away.
The stigma
The DCE admitted the issue of the stigma around the people of Tatorme but blamed social media users for been the major cause.
He said when his attention was drawn to the issue of stigmatization all over the place, he saw the need to tackle it head-on thereby charging the National Commission for Civic Education-NCCE as well as himself going on radio for education and sensitization campaign.
“we learnt this guy voluntarily went in for testing. They took his sample and sent to UHAS. The sample result was that he has the virus. Now he was taken to the treatment centre and the information to me is that he has been cured and discharged so to say that he was taken to the site and later on tested negative, which means he was not even treated is not true because, my understanding is that he was treated, cured and discharged”
Way forward
According Mr. Adzidoga, enforcement and education particularly on the various protocols that was announced by the president, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, to stop the spread of this deadly virus is the way forward. 
“Even though there are partial lifting on some, ban on public gathering as announced by the president must be adhered to, and Social distancing must be strictly complied with as well as putting on a nose mask. We are to ensure by enforcing these directives so that people do not spread this virus” he stressed 
He further called on all and sundry not to panic but stop pointing accusing figure and collaborate with authorities so that calm can retain in the district as he noted that, the harm has already been caused but steps to recover is key.
“let’s listen, forgive one another and move on. We should not hold on to one particular issue and want to make sure we run somebody down. That is not the way to go because mistakes are part of human affair”
He is therefore pleading with the citizens to collaborate with the appropriate agencies, the team and committees that are to ensure that Akatsi South contain and kick out the novel corona virus disease.
Mr. Adzidoga assured the citizens in the district of his preparedness to ensure the safety of all in this trying time.
He said his outfit will support the Assembly and Unit Committee members as well as the Chiefs and elders in his jurisdiction as the Akatsi district continue to instill in its citizens to observe all the safety protocols related to the containment of the disease even though some people are recalcitrant.
We shall continue to do our best to ensure that education goes down with the people to understand that this disease is real in Ghana and for that matter the region so as to take the necessary precautionary measures to ensure that Akatsi is virus free.

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