With gradual or phased relaxation of Worship Centres lockdown order by various governments in the country from today, Sunday, June 7, 2020, leadership of every worship centre should without prompting constitute some of its members into enforcement committee to ensure that every worshipper complies with the NCDC protocols of hands washing, hands sanitizing, proper use of facemasks, social and physical distancing by the recommended distance from one another. Equally, the observance of other protocols set out by local Covid-19 Taskforce Committees in the respective communities would surely complement the earlier NCDC protocols stated above.
Of particular importance to note here is the improper use of facemasks by the general public which has gone on for quite a while now. The phrase “proper use of facemasks” connotes the quality and the wearing of facemasks correctly.
i) Very often a lot of people purchase their facemasks from hawkers at the street junctions or traffic lights which are mostly of poor quality. Facemasks made of fabric by the local tailors or homemade ones should be at least three plyer to effectively prevent you from either breathing in or out of viral particles or droplets if you are in any crowded environment. The best facemask is the imported N95 brand which is expensive, hard to come by and not affordable by most people in the community.
But note that the locally made facemasks if well made with three ply fabric is still good for use.
ii) Not wearing and improper wearing of facemasks are very common in the communities. The attitude of not wearing or improper wearing of facemasks in public and during worship sessions may constitute a veritable vehicle for community spread of this dreaded virus, as a lot of carriers of the Covid-19 in the communities are asymptomatic but very infectious. Currently in our communities, certain research findings
have shown that only about 20% of the people wear their facemasks properly (i.e. covering the noses and mouths), 30% do not wear facemasks at all while 50% of the people wear their facemasks under the chins (not covering their noses and mouths at all). They are just making it look like fancy. This attitude of improper use of facemasks, if extended to places of worship may be very dangerous especially as these are the places where the very young and aged populations are commonly found.

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The correct and proper use of facemasks coupled with strict compliance with other NCDC protocols is very imperative as the doors of our worship centres are now thrown open for worshippers. Kindly act properly for safe worshipping.

Dr. Ita Udosen is the Medical Director of Alma Clinic and Surgery, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
And Public Commentator on Health Matters.