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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evaluation Of A National Program To Distribute Free Masks For COVID-19 Prevention In Uganda: Evidence From Mbale District

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The slow rollout of vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants underscore the critical role masks continue to play two years into the pandemic. Given face masks’ low cost and relative ease of use, a key question facing policymakers is whether populations are heeding the advice to wear masks, and what strategies are especially effective to encourage mask take-up. We evaluated a national program to distribute masks in Uganda, which reached the Mbale District in March 2021, to assess whether distribution of free masks alone or distribution paired with education about masks and COVID-19 encourages mask use.

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