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The wrong use of face masks and the persistent denial of corona

By Sheku Putka Kamara

Note: This article was first published in March 2020. While people's designations and statuses may have changed in some instances, Putka believes that the article still carries weight and that it still speaks to the vital COVID-19 topic. Help yourself and ensure to always use a clean and decent facemask when you're in a public place. Remember, #CoronaFetNaWeAllFet

My observation has captured that we have a few of our fellow countrymen that see and view the usage of face masks as fashionable or something similar. I have also heard a few people making cases that they doubt the existence of corona and what have you. While I am not an expert in health and health related matters, I however need to make a few things clearer based on what recognized health professionals have said and are still saying.

Foremost, I am not too sure that the World Health Organization would be too unserious to declare the corona virus as a global pandemic. The catastrophic nature of the disease cannot be overstated for it has wrecked and is still wrecking havoc in major parts of the globe. The disease has clearly exposed weaker health care systems because even developed nations did not find it easy to contain the spread of the disease.

In Sierra Leone, government has made it mandatory for people to use face masks. While this is a good move in the fight against corona, it is still clearer that a good number of our compatriots have not seen the need to be wearing face masks.

Again, it has been stated that people are to avoid crowded places, but such does not seem to be the case especially when one looks at some of the busiest places in Freetown.

In all of this, there are some people that still believe that corona is not in existence. I cannot tell what may have informed their thoughts, but the fact that some libertarian notions have to be curbed cannot be overemphasized.

In all of this, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie says no one should be blacklisted for testing positive of the corona virus. The minister said that not all positive corona virus cases are severe and critical. He said that the immunization level of people determines the level and chances of contraction or transmission of the virus.

Professor Wurie said that for every hundred positive cases, eighty could be viewed as mild, fifteen could be severe and may require hospitalization and five could be deemed as critical, noting that studies have revealed that people above the age of sixty tend to have the severe and critical form of the corona virus. Professor Wurie said that despite the variety in the levels of contraction of the corona virus, all positive persons should observe a self-quarantined measure.

He said that the government of Sierra Leone is calling on Sierra Leoneans to protect themselves against the corona virus by observing strict hand washing and other health regulations designed to stop the spread of the virus in the country.

With the above attributions, I wonder why people should negate the fact that corona is real. And I do not understand why some people would prefer not to use face masks correctly. We must act now to save ourselves and our families from this deadly pandemic.

The other day, the country’s Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Reverend Dr. Thomas Samba says that a total of twenty-one thousand three hundred and fifty-three test kits for the corona virus have arrived in the country.

He said that the country’s testing capacity has tremendously improved, noting that they can now test any suspected case of the corona virus.

Dr. Samba said that the lab workers are working so hard and that they have improved their turnaround time to six hours, adding that more materials have been received to fight corona.

Dr. Samba said that they have intensified border patrols, noting that they are working with security personnel to improve community level structures to ensure that new arrivals in every community are identified and quarantined.

It is clearer that we do not have it all as a country, but we must ensure to help ourselves as a people. We must make use of the little things that we have to ensure that we beat corona in our own little ways. What is obvious is the fact that God would not come down and help us. It is the actions that we take today, that will place us in a better position of make the corona fight winnable.

In concluding, let me restate that we must continue to observe the necessary health precautionary measures that have so far been outlined by government and health partners. On the use of face masks, let it be noted that the act should not be seen as a fashion, but to aid in containing the spread. And again, let us avoid crowded places as much as possible. We should avoid body contact and refrain from doing things that will make corona thrive. And like we all know, let us continue to pray to the Almighty so that our beloved country would be free from this pandemic.

As an ambassador in this fight, I promise to accurately #shareForMamaSalone because this #CoronaFetNaWeAllFet!

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