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Brac to distribute 13 million masks in 35 high-risk districts

  • Published at 12:08 pm June 1st, 2021
masks people
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

Many people uninterested in mask wearing due to lack of awareness, affordability 

Brac is set to distribute 13 million masks as part of a new initiative to provide Covid-19 related services to the people in 35 high-risk districts of Bangladesh.

The new initiative officially began on Tuesday, Brac officials said in a virtual press conference.

Around 27,500 community health workers will be deployed to the 35 districts to teach locals about the proper use of masks, washing hands with soap and water, maintaining social distancing, and vaccine registration. 

Dr Morsheda Chowdhury, director of Brac's Health, Nutrition and Population Program, said: "To stop community transmission, lockdowns are needed and, parallelly, we have to create sustainable resilience."

She said Covid-19 will be with us for a long time, but the transmission rate can be decreased by 88% if people maintain quarantine properly. 

“This is the only way to prevent Covid-19 on a large scale. People have to go outside for their livelihoods, but masks must be worn," the Brac director added. 

Brac Executive Director Asif Saleh said: "It is difficult to protect the general public if they don't understand the importance of their safety. There is no alternative to following health guidelines until all citizens are vaccinated."

A team from Yale and Stanford Universities recently conducted a study in 600 unions of Bangladesh, which found that many people are not interested in wearing masks because of a lack of knowledge about the need for it and as many are unable to afford them. 

The research also found that the production of three-ply reusable surgical masks at a low cost is quite possible in Bangladesh.

Mushfiq Mobarak, professor of Economics at Yale University, said: "A reusable and washable surgical mask is safer and more affordable for the general people in a country like Bangladesh." 

Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shaheen Anam said: "We are in danger and our initiative will help to control and avoid this disaster named Covid-19."

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Civil Society Organization (CSO) Alliance and United Nations agencies will support BRAC in implementing the initiative. A total of 41 local NGOs in the identified districts will act as implementing partners.

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