Cloth Face Masks Should be Used in the Community, Not by Health Care Workers in Health Facilities

Author
Ronald Gobina
Content Type
Special Report
Institution
The Nkafu Policy Institute
Abstract
Wearing face masks are an essential aspect of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Although medical face masks are reportedly in very short supply in many countries especially low-income countries, cloth face masks seem to be gaining ground in terms of popularity and usage. In Cameroon, where the government has mandated wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with hefty fines for violators, cloth face masks are becoming more and more ubiquitous. They are a natural choice for community face mask users due to the ease of access (relatively low cost of production, accessibility of materials), potential reusability, and esthetic variability. The usefulness of cloth face masks to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, however, has been subject to a lot of debate. The scientific community is torn between outright restriction of use because of a lack of evidence supporting protective ability and the ethical dilemma of appearing to prefer a ‘no face masks’ policy (where medical masks are unavailable).
Topic
Health, Coronavirus, COVID-19
Political Geography
Africa, Cameroon