The wearing of the face/nose mask has become a diurnal debate in our communities. Some people see it as a necessity while others see it as a burden. Who is right? Who is wrong? That is why we are here.
Let us take this scenario; there was a fire outbreak at your workplace. You happened to be locked in your air-conditioned office with two sliding windows, and a sliding door. Won't you do your best possible to break the windows or the door to come out? Oh yeah! You will. It may not be easy, but complications are not synonymous with impossibilities.
Similarly, no matter how uncomfortable, how stressful or suffocating the wearing of the face/nose mask may be, we must wear it because it is one of the ways out. It may not be the safest because it does not give a hundred percent protection, but it is worth wearing.
Like our grandparents always say, “wearing a tattered dress is better than being naked ”. Wear the face/nose mask because you want to protect yourself from the virus but not because you want to obey the rules, or you want to impress someone. As the saying goes “If you start your day with an impression, you are likely to end it in depression”. (RAMJIN SPC)
Anytime you are going out, wear your face/nose mask. Let it cover both your nose and your mouth. For God's sake, it is called a face/nose mask, not "a mouth or a chin mask", there is no need to do "Otofista" with it. It is less detrimental if the virus enters your stomach via your buccal cavity than if it goes into your lungs via your nasal cavity because the 2019-nCoV (Novel Coronavirus) according to many scientists, is classified as a respiratory disease but not a digestive illness. Though none of the situations stated above is favourable because they both result in devastating effects, the former is "better" than the latter.
The face/nose mask is not a pair of slippers or a handkerchief. It is neither a uniform nor a cap, not even a handbag. Those that see theirs as slippers do not do any proper disposal, i.e. putting them in dustbins whenever they want to throw them away, hmm…well. Also, those face/nose masks that can be worn more than once; they don't wash, dry, and press them, anytime they have been utilized.
Others use theirs as handkerchiefs or handbags; the masks are always in their hands or pockets. When they come across a police officer/ a soldier or, they want to enter those places where the wearing of the face/nose masks has been made mandatory before they wear them.
The question is, whom are they deceiving? The virus? The police officer/ the soldier? Or themselves? It is high time we stopped these hypocritical behaviours. Some people go to church with their face/nose masks on, but just after the service, when they are outside, you will see them discarding their masks as if they have been freed from the prison and they need to dispose of their uniforms.
Similarly in our buses, after entry, when they hear the engine running, you will see the face/nose masks been wiped out of their faces as if someone had fluctuated an hour ago and they were gasping for breath. Let’s come to our markets and shops, you will be talking to the vendor, and you will hear “Hey, remove your mask, I can't hear you!”
This thing happens almost everywhere and every time. Many people do say that anytime you want to talk to them, you have to remove your face/nose mask regardless of your condition or your location. Some even see the face/nose masks as caps; before you greet them, you have to take your mask off as a sign of respect. Are you kidding me? That shouldn't be the case at all, because it is via those media that the disease can be easily contracted. Always bear in mind that Covid-19 is not a human being.
It has no conscience like us; it does not wait for anyone and does not do any favour to anybody at any time. It is somewhat unfortunate that some of us are still swimming in the pool of ignorance and are not aware of the dangers and implications associated with these acts and behaviours. Yes! Wearing the face/nose mask makes you uneasy, but, you have to see it as a necessity, but not a burden. If you are not ready to go through any stress, stay home and be safe because your life is precious.
The media, health workers, security personnel, religious leaders, and many other organizations cum individuals, have played a very significant and incredible role in the fight against this pandemic, and their efforts can neither be downgraded nor belittled. Nonetheless, we still need more education regarding the wearing of the face/nose mask. Especially those living in rural areas, where there is no electricity, no television or radio, no internet, they too deserve to hear the “good news” about the wearing of the face/nose mask.
The National Commission for Civic Education, (NCCE) has done a fabulous job so far, but the government must empower them more to do more so that the “good news” reaches these less privileged people living on societal margins. Though it is just a subset of the general preventive measures suggested by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Ghana Health Service, GHS, the face/nose mask has become one of the primary weapons used in our communities to fight this pandemic due to its affordability and availability.
Therefore, proper education must be given, great care must be taken, and strict hygienic measures must be followed to make the wearing of the face/nose mask a mode of prevention but not a medium of transmission or dispersion of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Together, we shall overcome this unforeseen COVID-19, and surely, this too shall pass.