WHO, Partners launch #World Mask Week



The #WearAMask challenge commenced, this week, to beat coronavirus and its humongous toll on humanity.
However, non-compliance, remains a major snag to the push.
In Nigeria, most people do not use masks or use them wrongly.
This global movement, will hopefully, encourage more people to use protective veils.
It is unfortunate, that many individuals, do not really understand, the significance of face coverings, to the fight against COVID-19.

Perhaps this launch will improve awareness and use of mask wearing in public places.
The World Mask Week, designated from August 7-14, has been hailed, as another laudable programme to defeat the pandemic.
The campaign is spearheaded by World Health Organization (WHO), and a coalition of partners, notably Pandemic Action Network, Africa Center for Disease Control(CDC), United States(US) CDC Foundation, Facebook, Google, Global Citizen and 40+ partner organizations.

The initiative is undoubtedly a crucial effort to increase the use of face coverings in public across the globe.
Given the alarming exponential increase of infection rates across the globe, sustained community masking in public is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19, even as situations vary around the world. And until we have vaccines or medicines to fight COVID-19, face coverings are one of the best tools we have – particularly where social distancing is not practical.

‘COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by transfer of droplets. As the pandemic continues to gain momentum in Africa, we must increase compliance to the public health and social measures so we can protect ourselves and protect our economy. We must increase mass wearing of masks as we expand testing and treatment services,’ said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

The initiative encourages people and organizations around the world to rally behind the importance of wearing a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 during World Mask Week and every week until there is a vaccine available. People can show their support by sharing a statement, picture or video on social media, tagged with #WorldMaskWeek.

‘Slowing the spread of COVID-19 requires everyone to play a role to keep themselves and their communities safe and healthy. Health experts have made it clear that wearing a mask is a key and simple preventive measure,’ said KX Jin, Head of Health, Facebook. ‘We’re proud to partner on World Mask Week with leading health organizations, as part of our commitment to connecting people to the expert guidance of those working on the frontlines.’

‘Google is committed to helping share one simple message: Wear a Mask,’ said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer, Google. ‘From our homepage doodle, to providing information on google search and maps, we are connecting people to helpful, authoritative resources that explain how wearing a mask can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.’

Dr Judy Monroe, President of the CDC Foundation said ‘we are committed to supporting the response to the public health threat posed by this virus, and wearing a face covering consistently and correctly is one of the most important things we can do as individuals to fight COVID-19.’
‘The US CDC Foundation is helping organize and support a number of campaigns.’

‘Face coverings block the spray of droplets from sneezing, coughing, talking, singing or shouting when worn over the mouth and nose. They serve as barriers that help prevent droplets from traveling into the air. Since people may have COVID-19, but not know it or have symptoms, consistent mask wearing can reduce the spread of the virus. Mathematical modeling shows that masks worn by 80-90 percent of the population coupled with social distancing could eventually eliminate the disease.’

‘Inconsistent policies on masking have caused confusion and there is mounting evidence that failing to wear masks is contributing to the spread of COVID-19,’ said Eloise Todd, Co-Founder of the Pandemic Action Network. ‘Leaders should make clear and consistent policies around the importance of wearing a mask outside the home when in public. If nearly everyone wears a mask, practices handwashing and social distancing we can end the pandemic more quickly, prevent suffering and save lives.’
Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen, Michael Sheldrick, said supporters were urged ‘take action in every corner of the globe to push their leaders to adopt clear rules on wearing a mask in public.’

‘We also need global leaders to govern by example. When we all wear masks, citizens become more focused on listening to the guidance of the medical community, and together we are better suited to help save lives.’
This is very important, especially in Nigeria and other countries, where leaders, flagrantly, breach laws, therefore, encouraging impunity.

The Pandemic Action Network was launched in April 2020 to drive collective action to help bring an end to COVID-19 and to ensure the world is prepared for the next pandemic. Since launch, the Network has been working with influencers to promote mask wearing– along with social distancing and handwashing – to help stop the spread of COVID-19. World Mask Week provides the opportunity to continue to sustain this momentum, uniting disparate parties around a single message.
World Mask Week partners and activities represent a broad spectrum to curb the infection.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus launched the #WearAMask challenge to mark the beginning of World Mask Week, asking people to share their mask photos and videos.

Africa CDC announced World Mask Week, with follow-up with a presentation by Pandemic Action Network during a training on infection prevention and control for COVID-19 being organized for journalists later in the day. Africa CDC is also posting messages about World Mask Week on its social media platforms.
The gaming industry, under its #PlayApartTogether initiative, is integrating World Mask Week messages and images into its games.
iHeartMedia is integrating World Mask Week content into their programming.
World Economic Forum and their Global Shaper and Young Global Leader networks joined the campaign via social media.

The Pandemic Action Network drives collective action to help bring an end to COVID-19 and to ensure the world is prepared for the next pandemic. The Network consists of 40+ organizations aligned on the mission to promote policies that save the most lives and protect livelihoods by ending the cycle of panic and neglect on pandemics.

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