By Yankuba Jallow
Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the mayor of Kanifing Municipality on Thursday, 21st May 2020 presided over the launching ceremony of fifty thousand (50,000) face mask initiative by his council.
Mayor Bensouda said his council has been in the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 adding they have so far supported ten thousand households with their food aid relief which was launched to support people during this difficult time. He said it has been recommended for people to wear face masks particularly in public gatherings, adding in this spirit, the council decided to embark on this project.
He said the face masks will be distributed within the municipality particularly at the eighteen markets of the municipality.
Mayor Bensouda enjoined the people of his municipality to adhere to the health guidelines as he called on the private sector together with the development partners to support his council to achieve their goal of 50,000 face masks. He said the masks were made in accordance with the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines on the production of face masks.
“The face masks contain multiple layers of fabric with durable materials that contain materials of hydrophobic properties to keep droplets inside the mask. The shape of the masks should entirely cover both the mouth and chick up to the ears. The fit of the mask should be slut without much movement,” he explained.
Bensouda encouraged the market vendors to effectively use the face masks and be washing them after use. The Gambia so far has recorded twenty-four positive cases of COVID-19 ten of whom are still in hospital while all others recovered except one who died.
He said his council in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) together with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the Gambia Police Force (GPF) and Red Cross joined hands in glove to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect residents of the Municipality.
On her part, Sainabou Martin Sonko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kanifing Municipality said COVID-19 posed one of the greatest threats to the existence of mankind and has affected all sectors of the society. She called on people to observe the guideline on the practice of social distancing.
Ndey-Fatou Njie, founder of Tiga and also a representative of the tailors said the face masks are essential at the trying times of COVID-19 and therefore they (the tailors) and fashion designers have taken it upon themselves to assist the situation in contributing their quota in the provision of face masks.
“Face mask has become a symbol in the fight against COVID-19. In some countries such as the Czech Republic, it is now mandatory to wear a face mask before leaving your house. However there is an increasing global shortage of face masks,” she asserted.
Musa Camara, the Regional Principal Public Health Office (RPPHO) said COVID-19 is a common enemy and thus, they needed to fight together. He added: “COVID-19 knows no boundary, but through concerted efforts, we will make headways. Fighting the common enemy has taken a holistic approach whereby you relieve the individual who is suffering by protecting them from the disease by providing them with face masks and hand washing materials.