The infectious rage of COVID-19 doesn’t seem to cease. So, the feasible solution turns out to prevent and coexist with this. Of several preventive public health measures being practised ever since its outbreak, wearing the mask is supposed to be the most effective, feasible and affordable measure, which needs public attention and adaptation.
Considering the essence of wearing a mask, and making this message wide-spread to bring behaviour change, HEAL Foundation — a healthcare advocacy group in association with ICCIDD organised the largest 2nd India Healthcare e-SUMMIT on 6th August 2020 with a special session on the Science of Mask — linking ancient wisdom with modern science. The session was moderated by Mr Rajeev Mehrotra, Trustee & Secretary, Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH The Dalai Lama. The session covered wide-range of topics on mask wherein eminent Educationist & Padma Awardee, Dr Pushpesh Pant elaborated on the history of mask and its connections with India’s cultural heritage.
Also, ‘Independence from Coronavirus Movement’ via “MASK is MUST” campaign from 6th to 15th August 2020 was launched by the HEAL Foundation. This campaign has started at the right time, which may be instrumental in breaking the infection chain and bringing behaviour change amongst the masses.
Elaborating on the essence of wearing a mask and the scientific reasons behind it during the 2nd India Healthcare e-SUMMIT, Prof K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) & Padma Awardee, said, “It is imperative to wear a mask as the COVID-19 virus enters the body through two main gateways — nose and mouth. And mask covers both. By wearing a mask one can prevent infection. If we speak loudly we discharge more virus in the air, but when we sneeze or cough, we discharge over 2 hundred million viruses, which increase the chances of more people getting infected.”
“Also, wearing mask protects you from getting infected from others and the vice-versa. These are the scientific reasons behind wearing a mask. Alone hand washing and mask-wearing reduces 60% chances of infection. Mask wearing campaign is a very much required initiative in this crucial time as such campaigns are supposed to bring behaviour change amongst masses”, added Prof Reddy.
Linking ancient wisdom to modern science and the essence of the mask, Dr Chandrakant S Pandav, President, ICCIDD & Leading Global Health Expert, said, “Mask is quintessential to stay safe from any infection and especially from COVID-19 as this is the part of our culture. And our honorary PM has set a new paradigm of being the public health practitioner. Mask in some form or the other and hand washing has been the part of our ancient culture. ‘Mask is Must’ to fight the COVID-19 infection.”
“However, to stay integrated and healthy, we have to follow 3M’s — ‘Mantra Jaap’, ‘Meditation’ and ‘Music’. And I am thankful to our honourable PM for recognising the ancient wisdom of Yoga and declaring 21st June as ‘World Yoga Day’. Mask plays a vital role in protecting you from infection. We should pledge to ‘Ask for Mask’ to bring behaviour change in our society, which is very important to fight this pandemic”, added Dr Pandav.
Introducing a nationwide campaign ‘Mask is Must’ as a single point intervention to prevent the surge of COVID-19 and its undeterred rage in India, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Foundation appealed the people to follow ‘Mask-Wearing’ religiously as it has certain benefits.
On attuning with ‘Making of the Mask — Tender, Loving, Care’ Prof Sheetal Vij, Premium Faculty Member, World Peace University, Pune, said, “Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial as well as practical purposes. In the pre-pandemic, the mask for me was just a normal thing to protect your face, but now, it has become essential. In ancient time it was used for ceremonial purposes, however, in 2020, it has turned out as a healer.”
At the end of the last session of 2nd India Healthcare e-SUMMIT, recognising the contribution of ‘Real-Life’ Heroes who worked relentlessly to serve the community in need during COVID-19 crisis, HEAL Foundation in association with ICCIDD conferred COVID Hero Award 2020 to eight individuals from different sections of society for their exemplary deeds.