Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) on Wednesday inaugurated the “Mask Ambassadors”, a group that advocates the wearing of nose masks to stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the Municipality.
So far, the country has recorded 1,671 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 with 16 deaths and 188 recoveries.
The eight-member group, comprising mostly journalists and two health officials, would work to scale-up public education on the use of nose masks as well as help to control societal stigmatization associated with COVID-19.
At a short ceremony in Sunyani, Mad. Owusu-Banahene commended the “Mask Ambassadors” for the initiative, and said the advocacy was a call to duty, which required commitment to achieve results.
She said the Municipal COVID-19 response team was working hard to ensure that the residents in the Municipality adhered to the social and physical distancing protocols, hand washing with soap under running water as well as complying with government directives on the COVID-19.
Mad. Owusu-Banahene indicated the media played a vital role in the fight against the COVID-19, and welcomed the idea of the campaigners, saying: “You have placed huge responsibility on yourselves as media practitioners and the Municipal Assembly will also support you to achieve your aspirations”.
She expressed the hope that corporate bodies, opinion leaders and entrepreneurs would support the campaign to help combat the spread of the disease in the Municipality and beyond.
Mr. Dennis Peprah, the lead advocate of the “Mask Ambassadors” underlined the need for the media to think outside the box, go beyond their normal work of news reporting to be able to contribute significantly to prevent the spread of the virus.
Though the campaign, he explained was a voluntary call to duty, the campaigners would require support from local manufacturers and business entities, corporate institutions, philanthropic individuals and organisations to supply the vulnerable and high risk population with the nose masks.
Mr. Peprah called on the media to use their airwaves and various media platforms to help sharpen the narratives and address the stigma against the COVID-19 to control its spread.
“The media, especially local radio stations must sieve and avoid reports that have the tendency to stigmatize carriers of the virus”, he added.