Issue free face masks as you do condoms
When Covid-19 first hit the country in March last year, it caught almost everyone by surprise. What is Covid-19? What is coronavirus? Why is it killing people? Where did it come from? Many such questions arose.
The government, particularly the Ministry of Health, did all it could to help curb the spread of the pandemic. The country felt the pain of containment measures like lockdown and curfew.
Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu counties were the latest victims of lockdown. There are fears that some counties could face lockdown again with Kisumu in the red list as health reports reveal a dire situation in the lakeside city amid suspicion of the deadlier Indian variant of the disease.
The recent national celebrations of the 58th Madaraka Day in Kisumu is blamed for having made many people to interact unguardedly to attend the rally despite the Covid-19 restrictions.
With all this, everybody should have a budget for items such as face masks, sanitisers and handwashing equipment and resources, including running water. This will help as we go about our daily businesses. People should now give the police some rest after consistent battling over those caught not wearing a face mask.
That is a huge expenditure for the ordinary Kenyan, especially in light of the dip in earnings due to the interruption to economic activity by the pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs or businesses or suffered pay cuts.
Prevention is better than curing, so goes the adage. However, Sh10 for a face mask is too much money to the common citizen. Most people cannot afford face masks, hence their overuse. One mask is worn several times, even when dirty. This can lead to other health complications.
As nature is habit-forming, people should adapt to wearing face masks every day. That will help to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Just as free condoms are distributed through hospitals and other public places, face masks, too, should be issued. Both HIV and coronavirus are viruses, both are dangerous and both kill at the slightest opportunity. Hospitals, schools, religious places and bus stages, among other places, can be the pick-up points.
The government should allocate funds for buying and distributing face masks free of charge to the people.
Michael Ogelo, Kisumu
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Everything has a beginning and an end. So does Covid-19.
Among the safety regulations against the coronavirus is wearing of face masks. So, what will happen to those families who earn their daily bread solely from the production and sale of face masks?
After some time, the ‘new normal’ of a mask being a basic need will end. Those dependent on the trade need to be psychologically prepared for loss of income.
The government should chip in now and create as many employment opportunities as possible; we have to survive after Covid-19.
Kudra Okola, Narok