In the Democratic Republic of Congo, as in most parts of the world, it is compulsory to cover one’s nose and mouth in public places.
In Goma in the east of the country, the police are on the lookout and are very strict with any offender. But not everyone can afford the approved mask which costs about 0.5 euros. So everyone protects themselves as best they can to avoid the police.
“I wear a leaf mask because I don’t have the money to buy a good one. I am unemployed and I am asking our government to distribute the masks. I am wearing this one so that I don’t get arrested by the police’‘, François Kihuo, a Goma resident told our Congolese correspondent, Gaël Mpoyo.
But experts recommend an approved mask because it helps to effectively prevent people from contracting a virus, such as Covid-19 or any other viral disease.
‘‘These are alternative masks, but ideally the government through the Ministry of Health should distribute the masks directly to the population in sufficient quantities. We must congratulate the population which is doing with its own means to protect themselves. I must remind people that the wearing of masks is very important’‘, Dr. Rodgriguez Kisando at the Biomedical Analysis Reference Centre said.
Demand for masks shot up in Goma. In response, UNICEF offered the provincial government some 79,000 masks. These masks will be distributed to public transport operators.