Novel coronavirus (62) WHO: A guide to preventing and addressing social stigma

28 February, 2020

Important new guidance from WHO.

Extracts below. Full text here:


Updated 24 February 2020

Social Stigma associated with COVID-19

A guide to preventing and addressing social stigma

Target audience: Government, media and local organisations working on the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Social stigma in the context of health is the negative association between a person or group of people who share certain characteristics and a specific disease. In an outbreak, this may mean people are labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against, treated separately, and/or experience loss of status because of a perceived link with a disease...


Stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt possible social isolation of groups, which might contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread. This can result in more severe health problems and difficulties controlling a disease outbreak. Stigma can:

• Drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination

• Prevent people from seeking health care immediately

• Discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours...


... Here are some tips on how to address and avoid compounding, social stigma:

1. Words matter: dos and don’ts when talking about the new coronavirus (COVID-19)

2. Do your part: simple ideas to drive stigma away

3. Communication tips and messages...


Best wishes, Neil

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