For 44-year-old Ms Omega Mapako, a nurse at Zvishavane District Hospital, Covid-19 pandemic has affected her physically, mentally and emotionally and she prays that many people are vaccinated to mitigate against the spread of the virus.
Other than losing close relatives to the virus, she has lost workmates too and now is facing a new challenge, stigma from members of the community whom she said now see her as a source of Covid-19 infections.
Using public transport to and from work where she works in a Covid-19 ward, she is a tenant at a house in Mandava suburb in Zvishavane, living with another family.
In the Zupco bus or kombi, other passengers, she said, don’t want to associate with her and at her lodgings, the other family is now stigmatising her children and they are now forced to stay by themselves.
Ms Mapako said while working in a Covid-19 ward has its challenges, it is the stigma and pressures outside Zvishavane District Hospital which are haunting her and her three children.
Ms Mapako said it has been a struggle for her to even walk in the streets of Mandava or CBD in her uniform as she now faces stigmatisation because she is a health worker whom society thinks is a source of Covid-19 infections.
She says she is now forced to put on her uniform at work and remove it when leaving the hospital to avoid being stigmatised as a carrier of Covid-19.
“Covid-19 has brought stigmatisation on me and my family. I work at Zvishavane District Hospital and stay in Mandava suburb. I use public transport and at times Zupco bus or kombi. I used to leave home in my uniform but now I am forced to put it on while at work and remove it when my shift ends on the way home so that people don’t judge me,” said Ms Mapako. —Zimpapers