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Coronavirus: Practice Distancing not Discrimination

In response to the stigma and mental stress that COVID 19 positive patients are facing across the country, a video titled #SochBadlo featuring veteran actor Raghubir Yadav is spreading awareness. 

Health professionals including mental health experts are increasingly expressing their concerns over the long-term psychological impact of this on patients. Director of AIIMS-Delhi, Dr Randeep Guleria recently urged people to show support towards the Covid-19 patients as well as their families instead of stigmatising them.

The video has been released by three organisations including Mumbai based Waatavaran Foundation, Bengaluru based Jhatkaa.org and Bihar based Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) who are jointly working across India in a bid to create public awareness on COVID 19 as well as helping disperse important information pertaining to different government schemes using social media. The film has been conceptualised and executed by Geeta Singh and Avinash Kumar Singh of Turtle on a Hammock Films.

Through this 70 second video, veteran actor Raghuvir Yadav, who has recently been garnering rave reviews for his role in the Amazon Prime Video series ‘Panchayat’ is seen making an earnest plea, asking people to stop treating those suffering from Covid-19 like criminals.

“The unfortunate fact is that being Covid-19 positive seems like a crime. People think that if a person is tested positive for Covid-19 the person is nothing less than a criminal. This is wrong and this mentality needs to be stopped,” said Yadav.

“There is an urgent need to create an atmosphere in the country where it’s not shameful or guilty to be found Covid 19 positive. Our fight is against the pandemic, not the people suffering from it,” appeals Yadav.

Raghuvir Yadav appealed to the public expressing, let’s not shake hands, instead, let’s shake off all the myths and stigma that is associated with being Covid 19 positive. Coronavirus has highlighted many issues, which require all of us as a society to come together. It’s heartening to see people coming together, setting up collectives to help migrant workers, and people in need.

Wataavaran Foundation is also involved in disseminating critical information on Maharashtra govt – public distribution schemes (PDS) related to ration cards. This communication was circulated among district officials in Maharashtra to help the communities in understanding and simplifying the govt schemes. In a chaotic time like that of a pandemic, each and every step which simplifies and deconstructs information becomes crucial.

Wataavaran Foundation, CEED, and Jhatkaa.org are also involved in proactive corona communication and advocacy work on social media and media platforms. The Indian Government and Health ministry of all the states have come out with guidelines on precautions and protection against the Coronavirus, like handwashing, wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and staying indoors unless necessary.

Besides social stigma, there are many urgent matters which are coming to light, like the rise in domestic violence and the need to send out helpline numbers and centres. The Women & Child Development Department of Maharashtra issued helplines for women who are feeling unsafe, physically or emotionally abused, in a bid to reach out to women across the state on domestic violence. This is a vital step for safety and duty of care for women by the government, which has been amplified and circulated among several civil society groups.

In the coming days, the organisations will focus on more messages on social stigma and government schemes set up to help people.

Watch the video:

 

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