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Universal Use of Face Masks and Related Challenges During COVID-19 in Developing Countries

Authors Tucho GT, Kumsa DM

Received 22 December 2020

Accepted for publication 27 January 2021

Published 10 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 511—517

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S298687

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto


Gudina Terefe Tucho,1 Diribe Makonene Kumsa2

1Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Technology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia; 2Department of Sociology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Gudina Terefe Tucho
Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Technology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Tel +251911703978
Email guditerefe@gmail.com

Background: Governments have imposed physical and social distancing measures together with hand hygiene to contain COVID-19. However, maintaining the recommended social distancing less likely applicable in developing countries where the majority of the people depend on daily income. Countries like Ethiopia imposed universal use of face masks as an additional measure.
Aim: This study aims to review and present the advantage and challenges of imposing universal use of face masks in the community and to forward possible recommendations.
Methods: The study was synthesized using a narrative literature review approach involving COVID-19 databases, published literature on COVID-19, and relevant news.
Results: The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ethiopia was reported on March 13, 2020. Consequently, the government has taken swift actions including social distancing and strict hygienic measures to contain its transmission. However, new cases have started to increase with local transmission. Hence, the country imposed additional measures including universal use of face masks at public places. The universal use of masks requires a sufficient supply of masks with affordable costs. Moreover, awareness of the proper use of face masks and its disposal is another challenge affecting its effectiveness against corona virus infection.
Conclusion: Universal use of face masks can contribute to the containment of the virus in the community if adequately available and properly used and managed after use. Encouraging local production with clear guidance, demonstration, and awareness creation helps to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of face masks particularly among the vulnerable population.

Keywords: universal use, face mask, COVID-19, challenges, Ethiopia

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