Simply Wearing of Face Masks, PPE, won’t Guarantee Protection- NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned healthcare professionals and other members of the public on the use of face masks and other personal protective equipment, PPE, saying simply wearing protective clothing without adhering to usage guidelines wont guarantee protection.

It emphasized that the protective effect of face masks and the suits can only be ensured if the clothing is put on and taken off in the correct way and if correct working procedures are followed.
The agency recently disclosed usage guidelines for non-medical, medical masks and respirators, noting that protective clothing should be checked before use, to ensure they are intact and replaced if damaged.

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It further revealed that protective clothing should fit the wearer and should not hamper movement, while contaminated protective clothing should be disposed of in specially designed rubbish bag, to prevent the spread of the virus.

The NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, speaking through a press release, explained the uses of the different masks, stating that the non-medical masks, such as are the self-made, commercial masks or face covers made of cloth, and other textiles or paper, are not recommended for medical workers because they are substandard.

“They are not standardized and are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals.They serve to limit spread of droplets and offer some measure of protection to those around you.

“These face masks are recommended to be washed daily and preferably should be a double layer of fabric to increase the absorbency and effectiveness. It must be noted that several washes, drying and stretching of the mask over time reduce the effectiveness of the mask”.

She described surgical or medical masks as those fit for health workers as they are fairly loose-fitting disposable masks. They made from non-woven polypropylene fabric consisting of multiple layers. They are for use by healthcare professionals and offer different levels of protection.

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“These masks help prevent large droplets of bodily fluids that may contain germs, including viruses, from coming in direct contact with the patient or the healthcare personnel. They also help to prevent hand-to-face contact.

The NAFDAC boss also mentioned respirators, such as the N95, N98, KN95 respirator masks, saying they are designed to protect the wearer from small (0.3 micron) particles in the air, like viruses, which the regular surgical masks cannot do.

“These respirators provide an air tight seal when fitted correctly and filter out very small particles including viruses such as the COVID 19. The respirators are made of fine mesh synthetic polymer fiber” she stated.

Adeyeye further hinted on the efforts of the agency in expediting the registration pathway to enhance the granting of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for face masks and other PPE.

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