PROTECTIVE FACE MASK IN THE COVID-19 ERA.

Its day 11, third month of the lock down, 6 Am, my usual day for work. I am considered essential, so its business as usual with much enthusiasm for me and some of my mates, except for those few in dentistry.

I am literally in a matatu enjoying the solemn, quiet, chilly misty drive to work, a whole two-seater seat for skinny me! Of course, this was not accidental! GoK has made sure that safety in public transport during this pandemic be a priority, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/06/c_138949862.htm, many thanks to W.H.O global campaigns across the globe on the needful and benefits of sanitizing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, proper use of face mask and keeping a social but a “friendly” distance.

This was the first pandemic where I had a chance to participate professionally to offer my little expertise in the disease control and management of any possible outcomes. The use of protective facemasks was the only sure way that we’re going to triumph this virus, CORONAVIRUS! Or, ‘CoVid-Virus’ as my 5-year-old angel calls it. She’s probably right, with the much information she could gather in this span.

In Nairobi city, I saw the price of facemask and its demand conversely rise to several folds than expected. Everyone values life, this statement depends on the amount of dollar one spends a day, as one may see it from a different perspective. They, masks, came in rousing designs branded with favourite portraits of nature, celebrities and even country flags (symbolizing patriotism and solidarity). For the political class, BBI inscriptions did not miss! Some customized for the youth and young adults, had favourite money heist- https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6468322/ – cast on them!  All these, to motivate us to put them on appropriately, as recommended by the ministry of health.

Based on the scientific evidence published in major medical journals on the safety of the appropriate use of facemask in the prevention of respiratory infections with specific interest to those due to pathogenic nature, I chose adhering to the guidelines to the later. Even when I am going out for an afternoon walk along the riverbank of The Nairobi River in my in the hood in Kiambu County. I saw a huge problem in the larger population that is cognizant of the catastrophe the globe faces today, but choose to live lackadaisically. They have been living normally, the way our health CS has been quoted on the media, as if everything is perfectly well! Consequently, the results have overwhelmingly expected with a rocketing number of new cases of infections and deaths as observed in Italy. In Kenya today we are 3,215! https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/kenya/ Majority of the cases in Kenya are from Nairobi and Mombasa counties. Cities are centers of excellence in a particular country. In Kenya, Residents of Nairobi and Mombasa have highest literacy levels but incapable of sane reasoning! Citizens have to policed to wear masks! ‘Sell me one mask I don’t want to be arrested.’ A Nairobi resident at a pharmacy in Hurlingham. It is no wonder our numbers are rising sharply and steadily! These acts have turned our quarantine facilities into a 14-21day cell. Indeed ignorance is no defence!

Fellow practitioners, some of them, unfortunately, fail us in this war by not following the guidelines they encourage the public to adhere. It is my prayer that we all practice what we preach and endeavour to learn. Its only after learning that we shall live to learn even more.

I have made it a personal choice to practice the ritual not as show off but,

  • In respect and in solidarity with my frontline colleagues who depend on PPE for their safety and that of their families.
  • When I am out and about, in my small village I consider myself as an agent of change and as a role model of good behaviour to my angel.
  • Lastly, like those who have come before my time, I believe in the precautionary principle when it comes to this strange and frightening virus.

Published by Oliver Adeka

A human rights advocate, a lover of life, a care giver, a pharmacy practitioner augmented with patient safety.

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