Youth in Malawi embarks into mask distribution initiative

Monday, May 4th, 2020 00:00 |
People are seen wearing homemade face masks in Machinjiri, Blantyre, Malawi, May 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Joseph Mizere)

 Malawi is one of many African countries which have reported COVID-19 cases. In this difficult time, governments and non-governmental organisations are trying hard in finding solutions of stemming down the spread of the COVID-19.

In line with government's effort, a duo of young ladies in Malawi have engaged into a voluntary initiative which they are calling it "cover your face initiative" a programme which is aimed at distributing face masks made from cloth across the country.

The duo has partnered with a number of local medical doctors who are helping with advice, proper designs and recommended cloth material.

According to Sumeya Issa, co-founder of the intuitive, the programme is aimed at helping less privileged communities that have no access to sanitary face masks and empowering people in those communities with the right information about the pandemic.

"As the number of confirmed cases is rising in our country, we thought it wise not to just sit down and watch the spread making headlines. Although we don't have enough funds to reverse the trend, we believe that our efforts can bring something good into our communities. A lot of people have welcomed the idea, and we believe that this initiative will have a great impact on a long run," she said.

Meanwhile, the duo is working from home with a single sewing machine. Madalitso Munera, a co-founder of the initiative is the one doing the sewing and designing of the masks.

Munera is very optimistic that the initiative is going to give out the desired goal, which is to end the spread of the virus. Together with her colleague, Munera is recruiting and mobilising other tailors to join the initiative.

During the onset of the pandemic in the country, Malawi had more of imported cases of COVID-19, according to Yohane Gadama, a medical doctor in Malawi.

"As time passes, and with human interaction, we have seen cases of people with no identifiable contact or travel history. This means that everyone is at risk now. At the moment, this risk is particularly high in densely populated, high human traffic districts like Blantyre and Lilongwe," he said.

Gadama also pointed out that Malawi may not achieve to have all people staying home. And that both people with symptoms and with no symptoms may be walking around, posing risk to many.

"Cloth masks have been shown to reduce transmission. The explanation is simple with a mask on, when one cough or sneeze, more droplets will be trapped and only few droplet particles released into the atmosphere," he said.

Meanwhile, the organisation is in talks with other health experts and officials to locate vulnerable places to start the exercise. According to the duo, enough has been sewed for a distribution. (Xinhua)

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