Mr Abu Sumaila, Western Regional Head of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned the public against the use of substandard face masks as a means to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He contended that though it was better to be in a mask than to have nothing on at all, people may contaminate themselves when they use substandard masks coupled with incorrect use of the face mask, which carried a high risk of infection.

He further cautioned that homemade masks with strings to be tied behind the neck or head were not encouraged, while adult masks must not be worn by children (child appropriate length masks must be worn by children).

He noted that since the Minister of Health directed the use of mandatory masks or face coverings when going out, whether sick or not or attending to a sick person, and in all public places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing, substandard masks had flooded the markets.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in his office, Mr. Sumaila hinted that soon his outfit would clamp down on those producing the fake ones and urged those who sought to produce it to contact his office for registration and approval before production.

He pointed out that all homemade masks must meet the minimum standards of safety as prescribed by the Ministry of Health and approved by the FDA and must be made with a wax print cloths or calico inlaid with fabric stiffens in between them.

According to him, though the standard ones may be sold at a higher fee, it was better to spend more on what would secure their safety than to spend less and only to be at risk.

He therefore urged the public to check if they have FDA registration numbers on them and whether they were triple layered and inner covered with side loops to be worn as hooks to the ear before they buy.

Mr. Sumaila mentioned that the FDA in the Region had started a sensitization exercise to educate the public on the proper use of the face masks and the right type to buy for use.

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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