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Africa CDC launches campaign to increase face mask use

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Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has launched a week-long campaign for popularizing the use of face masks.

Dubbed AfricaMaskWeek, the campaign in which different media platforms will be used to showcase how proper face mask use ought to be worn will end on November 30th in 47 countries in Africa.

John Nkengasong the Director Africa CDC on Tuesday said until there is a vaccine or approved medicine for the virus, other interventions like mask-wearing, hand washing and physical distancing are the best tools available to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The key to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the absence of a vaccine is to adopt the age-old public health strategy of wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from others”, he said adding that “As we intensify testing and contact tracing to identify and treat infected persons across the continent, you can avoid being infected by simply wearing a mask to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching your nose and mouth”.

This week’s events are a  build-up from the August global launch of the World Mask Week where over 40 organizations across the world joined together with messages targeted at increasing awareness for increased use of face coverings in public places and particularly in settings where physical distancing is not possible.

Through this week’s events, the Africa CDC renews call to governments to increase access to recommended face masks to their people.

In Uganda however, though the government had promised to distribute free masks, the process has been with various hurdles with red flags risen over among others the quality of the products.

The CDC says over 50 organizations, countries and agencies have committed to take part in the week’s activities that feature virtual expert meetings to review data about mask use, social media campaigns and other online events by corporate and private entities and individuals across the continent to promote mask-wearing.

At an individual level, the organization is asking people to take pictures of their mask-wearing challenge to share on social media platforms.

Currently, however, 47 countries in Africa have active COVID-19 cases whereby a cumulative total of 1,439, 796 had tested positive by Monday. Also, a total of 24464 people had succumbed to the viral respiratory disease.

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