The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has observed that some people are using the picture of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kano State on various social media platforms in a discriminatory way. CITAD did also notice that people are using his name, picture and status in a negative way. In our part, we see this as a threat to the fight against this deadly virus. Reasons are: People will now become skeptical to self-reportÂ themselves when they suspect they have been infected with virus for fear of being stigmatized and harassed; This has clearly breached the ethics of medical profession which demand respect for confidentiality of patient identify; The life of the patient and his family are now being put at risk.
Though we believe that it is wrong for anyone who suspected to have contracted the virus or have a travel history to any place where there is confirmed case of Covid-19 to be mingling with other people, but it is also absolutely wrong for people to be victimizing and stigmatizing the victim which will set the fight against Covid-19 back in the country.
While we urge people to continue to cooperate with authorities and adhere to prevention guidelines, we call on the public to respect the privacy and rights of all individuals regardless of their health status. We also realized that past pictures of the victim are circulating tagging people he had related with in the past years as victims, we urge people to stop creating unnecessary panic in the society. Medical professionals to respect the privacy and confidentiality of their patients no matter the nature of their illnesses. Government to be more proactive in this fight and ensure privacy of every patient is being guaranteed so as not discourage people from self-reporting.
As digital rights organization, we cherish privacy online and while we struggle to ensure that government does not abuse the privacy of individuals, we should equally urge citizens to respect the privacy of others.
Campaigns and Communications Officer