‘Desist from wearing dirty masks’


Vasco Chaya

HEALTH experts have raised concerns over the use of dirty face masks, arguing that it is unhygienic as this breeds bacteria, the Daily News can report.

This comes as the government made it mandatory for every citizen to wear a face mask which protects the mouth and nose from possible exposure to the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) which has killed almost 360 000 people worldwide since it was detected in Wuhan city in China last December.

As a result, some are wearing the face masks repeatedly without washing them.
Harare Health Service director Prosper Chonzi is encouraging people to change face masks time and again saying this will help in the fight against the Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.

“Putting a dirty face mask is not encouraged at all as it causes a lot of infectious diseases. The idea of putting on a clean face mask is to prevent the spread of diseases hence if we resort to using the dirty ones we defeat the purpose of preventing the virus. Actually, people invite bacteria by wearing dirty masks,” Chonzi said.

He added that the face mask is as good as an under garment and it should not be shared.
“It is unhygienic to share undergarments and likewise face masks are as good as undergarments; they are not to be shared at all. It is very unsafe,” Chonzi said.

Most Zimbabweans have resorted to home-made masks as they cannot afford to buy them.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) chairperson Fortune Nyamande recently told the Daily News that for home-made face masks to be effective, they should be double clothed or pleated and should specifically cover the nose and mouth when worn.

Nyamande said doctors recommend the use of masks bought from licensed distributors of pharmaceutical products. However, in cases where people cannot afford, they then can resort to home-made masks.

“The use of face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic is still a hugely contested area among researchers. However, some recent studies have shown that face masks are of value in limiting onward transmission in pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

“The public also need be aware that face masks must be used in conjunction with other hygiene and social distancing approaches that has been shown to be effective. The main message, however, is that masks limit transmission of Covid-19 to others and are not a substitute for the protective measures we have been traditionally using during the lockdown,” Nyamande said.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, Zimbabwe has recorded 174 confirmed cases with four fatalities.
To contain the situation, the government gazetted the national lockdown on March 30; it was being reviewed after every fortnight until recently when President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended indefinitely.


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