Increasing numbers of people in Ghana are keeping the face masks on as the number of COVID-19 infections escalate, said a research by the Ghana Health Service.
Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said at a press briefing earlier in the week that the number of people with face masks on in public increased to 46 percent in January from 36 percent in the previous month.
In the streets of the capital, some respondents told Xinhua that they preferred to wear the masks rather than end up in the hospital.
Vera Addai, a university student, urged people to keep the masks on to maintain their good health and peace of mind, “If the wearing of masks will prevent you from going to the hospital and going through all that pain, I think it is worth it.”
In the wake of the spike in infections last month, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tasked the police service to enforce strict adherence to the wearing of face masks and social distancing in public places among other measures.
Among the professional bodies that play a part in ensuring compliance are the drivers’ unions, who ensure that commuters wear masks before boarding their vehicles.
“At this station, passengers comply with the order from the government. Even if they come and they are not wearing the mask, we make sure they put it on before boarding the vehicles. So it is a must that everybody wears it,” said Jonathan Nana Kwame Amoako, a driver at the Sakumornor-Accra Mall taxi station.
He also urged all Ghanaians to keep their masks on, when in public, to help lower the COVID-19 infection rate in the country.
The spike in COVID-19 cases has caused an increase in the business of selling face masks in the capital which remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Ghana. Grocery shops, pharmacies, market stalls, and street vendors sell masks because it has become a product with a faster turn-around time than other wares on the market.
“The sales have gone up, but the price has also gone up. We used to buy a box for 25 cedis (4.3 U.S.dollars), but now it has gone up to 30 cedis, reducing our profit margin. People patronize it, but many also prefer the fabric masks because they are reusable,” said Evelyn Yeboah, a face mask vendor.
Although many Ghanaians make the effort to wear the face masks, Kobby Blay, a frontline health worker, urged people to handle the mask properly to avoid defeating the very purpose of wearing the masks.
“So many people are wearing the face masks, but we also need to go further to educate them on how to handle them to ensure that they do not endanger their health in the long run,” Blay urged.
“Wearing of the face mask is one thing, and how you handle it is another. So when you wear the face mask and you keep touching the front where it is dirty, you are going to infect yourself with it,” he said.
As of Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Ghana stood at 73,003, with 65,583 recoveries and 482 deaths. Enditem