OVER 20,000 KF94 masks have been distributed to local credit unions and the health facilities in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG)to a assist in the ongoing fight against COVID19.
These masks were distributed by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Co-operative League and were made possible through an initiative with affiliate organisations; the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
“The COVID19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the livelihood of people throughout the world. Fortunately, only a few lives were lost in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the majority of the affected persons have recovered,” Harold Lewis, the president of the League said on Friday during a short handover ceremony.
Lewis noted that the League has been instrumental in providing several relief programmes for members and their communities since March 2020 so as to fulfil its mission of “people helping people, especially in difficult times”.
These efforts have continued throughout the ongoing pandemic and aftermath of explosive eruptions at La Soufriere this year.
The president thanked the WOCCU for its donation of the KF94 masks, through the CCCU as well as its continued contributions to disaster relief.
KF94 masks have been growing in popularity and are said to be equivalent to N95 masks.
Lewis told recipients of the masks that they look similar to N95 masks and have the ability to filter nearly identical percentages of airborne particles – 94 per cent versus 95 per cent.
“Unlike the N95 masks, the KF94 masks, however, are required to test for carbon dioxide clearance, which helps to prevent potentially dangerous levels of carbon dioxide from building up inside the mask. Remember you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, so that’s an added benefit of the KF94 masks,” he said.
Representatives from the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU), Kingstown Co-operative Credit Union (KCCU) and St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Co-operative Credit Union were each allocated five boxes of masks.
The SVG Police Co-operative Credit Union received three boxes, while the St Vincent Automotive Co-operative Society received two boxes to distribute to its members.
The majority of boxes-20, were donated to the Ministry of Health.
Sister Glendarine Browne, who is currently stationed at the Community Nursing Office thanked the League for its donation of masks, noting that it comes at an opportune time when the country and its health authorities continue to fight against the pandemic.
“I want to assure you that these come at a right time when we are still fighting the COVID19 pandemic and we know that masks, handwashing and social distancing are the three main areas being used to fight this pandemic and recently, we’ve added vaccination,” the nurse said.
Browne, who is at present deputising for the Senior Nursing Officer, noted that cases of COVID19 in SVG are currently low but she added that it was important to continue stemming the spread of the virus.
“…Therefore, we know that mask wearing is a very important fight in this COVID19 pandemic. I want to assure you that these masks will be used by both staff and persons who are using the various health centres. In this way, we know that it is used by the public who are at risk of getting COVID19,” she said.
The representative from the Ministry of Health also took the opportunity to encourage persons to get vaccinated.
“I’m not forcing you… I’m just telling you that the risk of probably taking the vaccine would be low when compared to having COVID19 and ending up in the ICU…the vaccine would give you a fighting chance of surviving.