Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi Constituency in the Volta Region of Ghana, Ms. Joycelyn Tetteh has revealed that proper handling and wearing of face masks is a big challenge in Ghana after months of intense public education.
According to her even though there is ongoing public education on how to properly handling and wearing of face masks by experts to avoid contamination most people are still doing the opposite. Among others, the nose/face masks should cover the face from the bridge of the nose to the chin.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Franklin ASARE-DONKOH after making a statement on the floor of Parliament to bring the worrying trend to policy-makers attention, the North Dayi lawmaker explained that most people in the country are not following the guidelines and education been given by experts on how best to wear the nose masks to avoid contamination.
The public since the outbreak of the novel corona-virus pandemic have been taught how to wash their hands regularly with soap under running water and use alcohol based hand sanitizers before putting on or taking off a face mask. Additionally, the guidelines state that worn masks should be removed from behind and touching of its front avoided. Finally, masks should be safely disposed and hands washed or sanitized after disposing them. She said.
The North Dayi MP said that despite all the education and encouragement, most people she met during their outreach to ascertain whether the Ministry of Health’s directive for compulsory wearing of nose masks were being observed but what she notice was in sharp contrast to the safe and proper wearing of mask.
According to Ms. Tetteh what she and her team observed on the streets, in markets, on commercial vehicles, and even at workplaces was that most people were seen wearing the mask below either on their chin, on their forehead, others simply hang it around their neck or carry it in their hand
“The impression been created is that it is sufficient to own a mask and carry it around whilst the main reason for members of the public wearing masks, particularly non-surgical masks, to reduce the risk of passing the corona-virus to someone else is being defeated. This is why I am worried about the improper manner in which some of us wear the masks.” The North Dayi lawmaker explained.
According to Ms. Tetteh, her other concern is about the way some people handle the masks, especially the home-made fabric types. Proper handling of the home-made ones requires that the masks are washed with warm soapy water, dried and ironed at least once a day if possible. “Sadly, I have seen people wearing masks which appear rather soiled and unkempt. This situation is alarming because the experts tell us that clothing or accessories that we wear have the potential to be contaminated, and same is true for our cloth masks. For this matter, Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious diseases expert at Columbia University advises we must wash our masks as often as we do our underwear.” She reiterated.
The North Dayi Lawmaker continues by saying there would have been no need to use home-made fabric masks if everyone could afford disposable surgical masks. Unfortunately, many Ghanaians can’t afford them on regular basis. The current price for a surgical mask is six Ghana Cedis (GHS 6). This means that a family of five will require a minimum, nine hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 900) per month just for procuring surgical masks. In light of this reality, the fabric masks are our best bet. We must therefore help our people to wear and handle the home-made fabric masks properly.
While we applaud efforts made to enforce mandatory wearing of nose masks, we must go a step further to ensure that they are worn and handled properly. She advised.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH