“I should have been using at least two in a day but that would mean GHC2.00 in a day. With the hardship in the system, we are not able to make agreed returns to our cab owners and therefore, cannot afford to be buying face masks everyday”, he said.
Master Moro Issahaku, another cab driver said he was using the fabric face mask to avoid spending money daily to buy the surgical mask. He showed the visibly dirty fabric mask to me and claimed he washed it every day after work so he could use it the following day.
Madam Kubrah Salifu, a lemon seller at the Wa Market, when asked about her mask, quickly pulled her nose mask from her small purse to show that she had a mask.
She was not bothered that sitting in a market place, she should be wearing her face mask and not put it inside a purse.
While health experts are warning of a fourth wave, Madam Kubrah Salifu believes the disease is gone, hence, wearing of the face mask, for her, is of no importance any longer.
“I have one that I keep in my purse in case the security people come around, I quickly put it on”, she said whilst bursting into laughter.
Mr. Gabriel Mwinkabo, a business man said he has just one surgical face mask in his car which he uses all the time he steps out of his car.
“I always remove it and hang it inside the car when I get back”, saying, he is not bothered about changing it frequently because it does not get dirty often.
Mr. Seidu Benin, a public worker, said he often uses surgical masks which he usually hangs on the wall when he returns home after work so he could use it again the following day.
“I only change it when I realise it is dirty and also sometimes when I forget to pick it when stepping out – you know how hard the system is, we cannot afford to be changing our face mask in a matter of hours”, he said.
Dr. Dennis Laryea, Acting Head, Disease Surveillance Department, Ghana Health Service, in an interview, pointed out that unfortunately, a lot of people do not get the principle behind the wearing of the face mask.
This according to him is responsible for the high level of abuse by the public, saying, the face mask is supposed to prevent people from transmitting droplets of saliva to other people closer to them whilst also preventing themselves from receiving droplets directly on their faces.
He said ideally, one needs to change his/her face mask after every four hours, adding that, in trying to wear a face mask, one must be careful not to touch the inside portion of the mask with bare hands to avoid contamination.
PROPER WEARING OF MASK
According to the WHO, masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives.
“First, clean your hands before you put your mask on and also before and after you take it off as well as any time you touch it”, it said.
“ Make sure it covers your nose, mouth, and chin and when you take it off, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day either wash it if it is a fabric mask, or dispose it off in a trash bin if it is a medical mask”, it explained.
The WHO also warns against using a mask with valves whilst indicating that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against COVID-19.
Additionally, it says, one needs to stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.
Meanwhile, the case count of the global pandemic in the region stands at 741 cases of which 704 have been discharged leaving three active cases whilst 34 people, unfortunately, lost their lives to the most deadly disease in world history.
Wearing of face mask must be a normal part of being around people. The appropriate use, storage, and cleaning or disposal of masks are essential to make them as effective as possible according to the WHO. Any improper use or abuse could result in infection and must be avoided.
By Prosper K. Kuorsoh