Nigeria: COVID-19 - What You Should Know About Face Masks, Hand Gloves - AllAfrica.com
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a great deal of interest in what people are doing to avoid getting infected. One of the methods strongly encouraged is physical or social distancing, which is regarded to be the most important step that can contain the transm…
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a great deal of interest in what people are doing to avoid getting infected. One of the methods strongly encouraged is physical or social distancing, which is regarded to be the most important step that can contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus but it must be in combination with the wearing of face masks and hand washing with soap and running water. The face and the hands are crucial in the prevention efforts against the pandemic. By now, every Nigerian should understand how to wash their hands correctly. Use of face masks is recommended because they prevent the virus from getting into the respiratory system. People touch their faces all the time, often without realising it, so an infected person can get the virus on their hands from their mouth or nose and pass it on to others, either directly or by contaminating a surface which others then touch. So regular hand washing is crucial. The World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended to the general public to wear cloth face masks to help decrease chances of getting COVID-19. There have been questions whether cloth face mask are really effective. There are different grades of face masks (or nose masks), the N95 mask gives 95 percent protection and it is advised to be used by those in the isolation wards and taking care of patients. The N95 and surgical face masks should not be worn by members of the public, rather face masks made from cloth and other suitable fabrics are recommended. Cloth facemasks are cheap, washable and reusable. But while the use of face masks is okay, it should be realised that face masks do not provide absolute protection. People must be trained on how to handle them properly. They must learn how to wear, remove and dispose of them properly. Improper use coupled with constantly touching of the mask and the face can make the face masks potential sources of COVID-19 infection. We must understand that while wearing face mask is useful, it does not take absolute risk away, you must still observe other precautions including hand washing and social distancing. How to put on and remove a face mask Cross-contamination often happens when putting on and taking off face masks and cloth face coverings/ But there is a simple technique involved. Before you touch a new mask or even put it on, wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser. Wear the mask carefully, ensuring it covers your nose and mouth properly. The mask should be dry, not torn, or soiled. Face masks are a tool for preventing the spread of disease. They are usually loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. Facemasks help limit the spread of germs. When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick. A face mask also protects the wearer's nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids. A face mask is worn when you are sick with a cough or sneezing illness and you expect to be around other people. Disposable face masks should be used once and then thrown in the trash. You should also remove and replace masks when they become moist. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mould to the shape of your nose. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The coloured side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face. To wear the face mask, hold by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear. If the mask has ties, bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow. Some masks have bands and should be secured appropriately. Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. To remove the mask, clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask because it is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band. For masks with ear loops, hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask. For masks with ties, untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened. For masks with bands, lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head. To dispose used masks, throw in the trash and cover the lid. Was your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser. Hand gloves: To wear or not to wear? Is wearing of gloves as safe as frequent hand washing? The honest answer is no. Wearing of gloves as a means of protection from the COVID-19 pandemic is not recommended for the average person. The reason is simple - gloves could spread infection more than expected when used inappropriately. Normally, wearing gloves minimises contamination and keep hands clean, but they are only really useful when hand washing is not possible or inadequate to prevent chemical or biological contamination. And if they are worn, will need to be changed as often as hands need to be washed. Wearing medical gloves doesn't necessarily protect you from Covid-19 like face masks would because gloves can encourage cross-contamination to occur and germs to spread. It gives a false sense of security, and could make you less committed to other hand hygiene practices, like washing your hands or avoiding touching your face. You're more likely to contaminate yourself when you're wearing gloves and there is really no point wearing gloves if you're not going to wash your hands every time you touch something. Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox Success! Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the process, please follow the instructions in the email we just sent you. Error! There was a problem processing your submission. Please try again later. Misuse of gloves make them unsterile and to be associated with risk of cross-contamination and spread of disease. Also, gloves are often used when they aren't really needed or misused they are put on too early, or taken off too late or not changed at the appropriate times. If you have touched a contaminated surface with a gloved hand, you areas likely to transmit contamination as if you haven't worn gloves. The most common inappropriate use of gloves is using a pair of gloves for longer than necessary. Failing to change gloves when needed is no different from failing to wash your hands. Gloves should only be worn to protect healthcare workers from blood, bodily fluids or certain drugs. When the patient needs protection, such as during surgery, gloves should be sterile. Either way, they need to be removed when they become contaminated and the same pair of gloves should never be used to touch more than one patient. Most gloves are recommended for one-time use after which they should be disposed. Wearing gloves is not recommended for the average individual because they could make you less aware of contamination on your hands and discourage hand washing. Gloves won't prevent coronavirus infection if the wearers touch their faces. Read the original article on Vanguard.
Cameroon: COVID-19 Frightens Malaria Patients - AllAfrica - Top Africa News
A song urging Cameroonians not to relent in the fight against malaria blasted through speakers Saturday — World Malaria Day — at road junctions and popular neighborhoods, as well as from publicity vans driving through Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.
A song urging Cameroonians not to relent in the fight against malaria blasted through speakers Saturday — World Malaria Day — at road junctions and popular neighborhoods, as well as from publicity vans driving through Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. Dr. Daniel Etoundi of Cameroon’s public health ministry said health teams were being taken to every neighborhood to try to discourage patients from buying roadside drugs or resorting to African traditional healers for malaria treatment, because those can lead to severe health complications. "If the product is toxic, the liver will be spoiled [destroyed]. Same with the kidney," he said. "Most of the products that we consume are eliminated through the kidney by urine. Now, if the drug is toxic, it will spoil the kidney function." The Cameroon Ministry of Public Health reported that since March 5, when the first case of the coronavirus was reported in the central African state, many people with suspected cases of malaria or other diseases have refused to go to hospitals for fear they will catch COVID-19. As of Saturday, more than 1,500 cases had been confirmed in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. But medical doctors say 90 percent of Cameroon’s 25 million people are at risk of malaria, while 41 percent have an episode each year. Dr. Dorothy Achu, coordinator of Cameroon’s National Malaria Control Program, said people should understand that although there is much government emphasis on the dangers of COVID-19, malaria remains the nation's major killer, especially of children. "We are trying to sensitize health workers to protect themselves well but to continue to provide services," as well as reassure the population "that it is not in all hospitals that we take care of COVID patients. So we just require them to protect themselves when they go to hospitals," she said. Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox Success! Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the process, please follow the instructions in the email we just sent you. Error! There was a problem processing your submission. Please try again later. Education efforts Innocent Kuisseu, sensitization team member for the prevention of malaria, said members also were educating Cameroonians about how to protect themselves from malaria by systematically using insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets and visiting hospitals when they suspect they might have malaria. He said people should not think that anyone who has malaria also has COVID-19. "Efforts are being put in to make sure that the population is more and more aware of what should be the right treatment, to make sure that in suspicion of malaria there should be a rapid diagnostic test, to make sure that they sleep under insecticide-treated nets," he said. The International group Severe Malaria Observatory reports that malaria causes 22% of deaths occurring in health care facilities in Cameroon, and that 10% of deaths in children under 5 years old are linked to malaria. Health officials in Cameroon blame the surge of malaria and COVID-19 cases on the fact that many people do not respect basic hygiene standards and don’t visit health facilities when they have early signs of either disease. They also say there are too many people who refuse to use treated mosquito bed nets. Read the original article on VOA.
Congo-Kinshasa: First Person - DR Congo Doctor Prepares for Latest in Long Line of Health Crises - AllAfrica.com
Health professionals working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in eastern Democratic of Congo (DRC), have been dealing with the deadly Ebola epidemic since August 2018. This experience is helping them to prepare for the latest disease to arrive: COVID-…
Health professionals working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in eastern Democratic of Congo (DRC), have been dealing with the deadly Ebola epidemic since August 2018. This experience is helping them to prepare for the latest disease to arrive: COVID-19. New cases of Ebola have been reported in Beni since 10 April, resulting in two deaths, despite earlier hopes that the disease had been eradicated in the country. As well as Ebola, the population of DRC is also having to deal with malaria, measles and cholera as well as ongoing insecurity, which is partly why health workers trying to vaccinate locals against Ebola have faced mistrust, and even violence. In an interview with UN News, doctor Abdourahmane Diallo, who heads up the WHO Ebola vaccination programme in DRC, explained that this is an ongoing problem. "Unfortunately, we have been fighting some resistance regarding the new cases: the community did not believe that they were Ebola cases, which is making life difficult for our workers on the ground. But we are doing our best to communicate with them, and convince anyone who has been in contact with the patients to get themselves vaccinated. The cases of COVID-19 that we know about are two people who came from Dubai to Uganda, and then tried to get to Beni. As soon as we got the message, we tried to isolate them, and their conditions have improved. Delivering the right message We had hoped to be able to close the treatment centres, but now, with cases of Ebola, and cases of COVID-19, that has changed. Spirits are good, however. I am from Guinea, where we had Ebola, and I also coordinated vaccinations in Sierra Leone. So, I am very experienced. When we face challenges, we try to remain courageous: this is part of being a public health worker. Communication has been a major problem throughout the Ebola epidemic, and we expect to have the same problems with COVID-19. For example, even before the new cases of Ebola this month, we had a meeting with local authorities, to make sure that the community received just one message, and that it was the right message. Within our team, we also have to be very careful to make sure that we are coordinated and speaking with one voice. As of now, it seems to be working: social distancing has begun; the authorities have closed the night clubs, for example, and even in the markets, people are trying to stay at least one metre apart. Fighting myths and rumours Coronavirus Portal & News Updates Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here. For daily news updates from UN News, click here. Disinformation has been a problem. People have been saying that certain drugs can be used to vaccinate against COVID-19, which is not true. We explain that there is no vaccine against the virus, and trials are still ongoing. That message is beginning to get through, and we are continuing to vaccinate against Ebola. It is very important that we keep going back to the community, as many times as necessary, to get our message across. And we have to take time to explain, and give them the opportunity to have their say, otherwise we can't succeed. Sometimes, this means going back to the community five or six times in one day! I have learned that you have to know the right way to speak to the community. Sometimes, to put them at ease, I don't wear WHO-branded clothing. I dress simply, I bring a basic mobile phone, to show them that I am like them, and that we need to work together to fight the outbreak. Protecting health workers Luckily, we do have enough protective clothing, because of our vaccination campaign: for some time, have been vaccinating anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola patient, and we don't know if they are a high or low risk. So, we need to make sure that we are fully protected. Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox Success! Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the process, please follow the instructions in the email we just sent you. Error! There was a problem processing your submission. Please try again later. And when we go into the community, we are spraying chairs, tables, everything, and ensuring that our team is wearing personal protective equipment. As for the COVID-19 pandemic, we are worried, of course, but we hope that, if people stick to the government guidelines, and we are able to communicate those guidelines to the community, the outbreak will not spread. I remember when the COVID-19 cases started in Guinea, my home country, I warned that anyone returning from high-risk countries needed to self-isolate for fourteen days, and not to go immediately back to their families and risk infecting them. Unfortunately, many people did not follow that advice, and now there are hundreds of cases in the country." Read the original article on UN News.