By Elohor Igbru
As Nigeria joins the world in celebration of the World Mask Week (WMW), the Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) said it has rolled out series of activities that would create awareness and raise the consciousness of Nigerians on how wearing of facemasks can help flatten the COVID-19 curve in the country.
According to a statement issued in Abuja and signed by the Executive Director, Babafunke Fagbemi, the WMW features both online and offline activities, targeted at different audiences with the aim of increasing awareness and encouraging Nigerians to continue to practice all the safety protocols needed to defeat the pandemic.
“The Federal Government has relaxed the lockdown all over the country with a section of students returning to classes for their examinations. It is, however, sad to see that many Nigerians have abandoned the safety protocols as designated by the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) in concert with the World Health Organisation, especially the use of facemasks and social distancing.
“The WMW is here to reinforce the importance of wearing a face mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is even more imperative now because globally the numbers are still rising and in the absence of a vaccine, we must aggressively pursue non-pharmaceutical measures like regular handwashing, physical distancing, facemask wearing especially where physical distancing is difficult.
“In the absence of a vaccine that can prevent infection, and as COVID-19 cases increase globally, citizens must depend on these non-pharmaceutical measures and supportive management of suspected or confirmed cases to mitigate the impact of the disease and keep everyone safe and healthy.
“We are at the community transmission level in Nigeria and wearing masks has proven to be a key component in the Infection, Prevention and Control Measures. The WMW is to encourage Nigerians to please take responsibility and mask up for a friend,” Fagbemi said.
She further acknowledged the fact that many Nigerians have complained about the difficulties associated with wearing facemasks but added that the little inconveniences are temporal.
“Whatever incontinence we have with facemask is temporal, that is the more reason we need to endure and slow down the spread of COVID-19 to ensure life can return to normal soonest.”
World Mask Week,an initiative of a coalition of organisations including the Pandemic Action Network (PAN), World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa CDC and private companies working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 globally, will run from August 7th -14th 2020. In Nigeria, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and partner organisations will run activities for WMW, which includes awareness campaigns in communities and media features nationwide to sensitise Nigerians on the importance of wearing face masks to slow down the spread of COVID- 19.
The campaign on social media will also feature the hashtags #MaskOnNaija, #MaskingForAFriend and #TakeResponsibility.