Many faces of stigma by Krishnamaya Upadhayay

Photo: Krishmanaya Upadhayay/

Uttam Devkota, 28, is a community medical assistant and was deployed at the Tila quarantine facility in Jumla for 22 days. “I looked after the sick and the neglected,” says Devkota. Before he wrapped up his work at the quarantine centre, his two colleagues tested positive for coronavirus. Fortunately, Devkota’s test was negative. “I knew it was safe to come home after the PCR test showed a negative result,” he says.

While his family was happy and relieved to see him, Devota’s neighbours had a different reaction. “They refused to come close to me, they would not even talk to me,” says Devkota. But it was not just him, the neighbors have been hostile to his entire family.

“Since my son is deployed in a quarantine facility, neighbors told me to not allow him back because they will also be infected” says his mother Bishnumaya Devkota, 60. Due to the humiliation and hostility towards her family, she and her family members have not been able to go out.

A total of 162 health workers are working in different quarantine centers in the district. Devkota says health workers have to face many challenges everyday while working during the pandemic. “There is no gratitude for the work we do, we are not given any facilities so that our work is easier, instead we are hated and humiliated.”

Text and photos: Krishnamaya Upadhayay @purnimashahi572020
Copy edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller
Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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