Local cousins make masks to help those in need

PERSONAL protective equipment like face masks have become an emblem in the fight against the coronavirus, with health minister, Zweli Mkhize recommending that all South Africans start wearing masks in public to help limit the spread of the virus.

While there is a shortage in the supply of surgical masks, two local engineers who also happen to be cousins, have come up with an alternative for the everyday South African, making your own face mask out of old newspapers and plastic bags.

Somerset Park resident, Mikeshen Gounden and Parlock resident, Kerushen Chetty, came up with the idea to make newspaper masks before the lockdown was announced.

“We were actually having dinner and we were both aware of the shortage of PPE and that health workers who on the front line would be most at risk. We knew cloth masks are used around the world and the health minister has encouraged the use of them so we were thinking of a way to help the common man and woman so to speak. We knew the N95 masks were essential for health workers so we came up with the newspaper masks,” explained Gounden.

“It wasn’t until the next day when Kerushen came back to me with a prototype of what the newspaper mask would look like that we had high hopes for the design. We improved and tweaked the design somewhat and made it as comfortable as possible. We felt the newspaper and plastic combination was the way forward and would help those who had no access to or couldn’t afford cloth masks,” he said.

The duo then made a short video showing how easy the masks are to make and how long they last.

“The mask is intended as a once off but using newspaper and plastic you are able to make a few masks and they take less than five minutes to make. We feel these newspaper masks can help save lives,” Gounden said.

The duo have since been interviewed by national news broadcaster eNCA and said the idea has taken off.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Initially we shared the idea among family and friends and the feedback was positive feedback. We are just happy we have created a mask with the potential to save lives and could make a huge difference in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Chetty.

Source: northglennews.co.za