As a result of global shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially the dearth in the availability of face masks, the federal government has encouraged Nigerians to improvise with homemade face masks, handkerchiefs or scarfs, to shield themselves from contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
According to him,:
“We are recommending the use of face masks but are not saying it is compulsory. One additional way to protect against infection is the use of face mask and it includes also the improvised homemade face mask or anything that covers your face, even a handkerchief or a scarf.
“It does not have to be hospital-grade, medical grade or surgical grade; you can make your own and preferably, in fact, your mask can be washable, ironed and reused.
“The purpose of that mask is to shield you and shield your opposite because if anyone is emitting any kind of droplets or particles, that is, if someone is coughing or sneezing, they push out articles and droplets which can travel in certain distance and be able to infected somebody who is less than two meters away.
“That kind of emission also takes place when people are shouting, laughing, exclaiming, or even when they sigh.
“These emissions can be captured when you are wearing a protective barrier. It must be washed preferably in warm water and then dried and then ironed. If you do that, you are safe to reuse it the next day.
“We are making that a recommendation and also particularly stretching it to those who handle food – food vendors are particularly advised to do that in the interest of their customers”.
He further added:
“We are trying to build up our stockpile because we need a good stockpile to be ready for any eventuality in future, particularly those things that we do not manufacture here. The COVID-19 outbreak is a huge thing, especially when we are in an era of community transmission.
“We are very keen to build a stockpile and to accept donations of PPE in our stores. We have medical stores in Lagos and Abuja. We keep all these things and use them very judiciously and carefully so that it will last us for the foreseeable future”.