Why renewing consciousness on safety measures is vital in limiting spread of COVID-19
July 24, 2020- “Wearing face masks, washing and sanitizing of hands, social distancing” have become the new normal and regular phrases used since the outset of the global pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
Majority of the world’s population have adhered to these safety measures to save their lives, especially as death tolls from the COVID-19 continue to rise in several countries.
Series of sensitizations and campaigns have taught people on how to effectively adhere to these safety measures.
“You have to wash your hands under running water for at least 20 seconds and in the absence of water, you can use an alcohol based sanitizer, which should also be properly rubbed on the hands.
“You should wear your face mask properly, not lowering it down your chin, dispose the masks properly after use. And do not cough or sneeze without wearing a face mask.
“Avoid crowded placed and maintain a physical distance of two meters. Self isolate when you feel sick”.
These are some of the few safety precautions we have become used to.
Over the months however, a lot of people are beginning to let their guards down and are not adhering to these measures, one of the reasons for a surge in daily new cases.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa in Congo Brazzaville speaks on the important role everyone needs to play in limiting the spread of the virus.
Moeti said there is need for a more robust follow up and reminder measures through different channels so that people can continue to adhere to safety precautions.
She said “Wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing will protect our communities, so don’t let your guards down.
“One of the most important things to do is to really enable people to grapple with the challenging circumstances and play their roles in limiting the spread.
“I see, even in the town where I live in, masks are available but people have started to relax and are more and more wearing them around the chin, below the nose.
“There need to be a very robust support, monitoring, follow-up, reminder process so people keep up with their mask up all the time, including the physical distancing.
“We need to find multiple channels so people can be reminded by SMSs in their phones: are u keeping your distance when you are out in the market.
“So this kind of grass-root based interactive communication with people because they will have to play a key role is what in my view is what needs additional emphasis,” Moeti said.
In Nigeria however, mixed reactions continue to trail the COVID-19 pandemic, with some believing the virus is real, while others still in disbelief.
Mrs Grace Ihugba, a resident of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory who spoke to the Humanitarian Post says she believes in the existence of the virus but in recent times, has not adhered strictly to safety measures.
Ihugba said more sensitization should be done, especially at the grassroots levels on not only raising awareness that the virus is exists but how to effectively practice the safety measures.
“From day one, I have always believed that Coronavirus is real, I keep up with the news and have also practiced the safety measures.
“But recently, I tend to be a little careless, I forget sometimes and scratch my eyes and nose unconsciously.
“A lot of people also believe the virus is real but are even practicing the safety measures very incorrectly.
“Imagine someone buys a face mask from a street hawker and wears it immediately, to him, he has done the right thing but in real sense, he has only put himself at more risk.
“So, people have to be properly sensitized to avoid causing more harm than good,” Ihugba said.
For some others, it has become a cliché as they just wear the mask as they see others do without knowing the reasons why.
22-year old Justina Bala, an undergraduate at the Federal College of Education, Zuba Abuja when asked why she was wearing a face mask told the Humanitarian Post that it was to prevent her from inhaling dust.
Bala however was not wearing her face mask properly, neither did she know how and why she was wearing it to prevent contracting COVID-19 or spreading the virus if she was likely infected.
Like many other ignorant people Bala lowers her face mask to her chin and pulls it back up at regular intervals.
The World Health Organisation has however warned against lowering face mask to the chin as particles of the virus could be picked and inhaled into the nose once the face mask is pulled back up.