The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued an advisory regarding the use of face shields in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
According to the Head of Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Asiedu Bekoe, face shields should be used together with a face mask and not as an alternative.
Dr Bekoe stressed that face masks were the best way to prevent COVID-infections.
He explained that in instances that social distancing was not possible, face masks were ideal for preventing the virus from entering the body through the nose and mouth.
“For the purpose of addressing the challenge of infection. The first port of call is the face mask… We want to implore all Ghanaians that let’s use the face mask because that is the purest way that you can prevent yourself from getting infection.’
“If you wear the face shield, then it must be on top of a face mask but it should not be an alternative to the use of the face mask and I want to assure all Ghanaians that it is not for convenience that we are replacing face shields with face masks but it is for the purpose of preventing infections”.
However, referring to an advisory by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) advisory on face masks, Dr Bekoe said face shields could be used when communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. He said this is because hearing-impaired persons may rely on lipreading to communicate.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear cloth face coverings if they rely on lipreading to communicate. In this situation, consider using a clear face covering.
If a clear face covering isn’t available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a cloth face covering that blocks your lips.
Increasing popularity of face shields
The face shield which consists of a curved plastic or Plexiglas panel that can be worn over the face has been increasing in popularity in the country.
This personal protective equipment has become a favourite at social gatherings, political events and on television, discussion shows in Ghana.
In brief comments, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also urged media houses to set an example by urging the use of face masks on their programmes.