AMA lay to rest COVID-19 dead bodies at Awudome Cemetery
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) will from today lay to rest the remains of 14 people who have succumbed to COVID-19 at the Awudome Cemetery in Accra.
They are part of 41 deceased persons whose families have so far registered with the Public Health Directorate of AMA for burial, the head of the directorate, Mrs Florence Kuukyi has said.
In an interview with The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, she said the directorate had since May 5, overseen the burial of 27 bodies, the oldest being 86 years and the youngest, nine years.
She said apart from one body that was buried on the first day, subsequently “We bury at least five people per day on Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes an emergency burial.”
According to Mrs Kuukyi lack of logistics remained the major challenge facing the directorate.
She said the environmental health officers who handled the interment had only one vehicle and were compelled to ask families to provide vehicles or rent hearses from funeral homes.
She further disclosed that there was no budgetary allocation for the burials, coupled with insufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), making the interment of COVID-19 victims strenuous.
“The burial aspect of the COVID has been neglected”, she said and appealed to the government to provide the directorate the needed logistics to make the exercise safe not only for the officers but their communities.
According to Mrs Kuukyi, some family members had abandoned the remains of their relatives because they were asked to provide hearse.
Mrs Kuukyi said the heat from the PPE and discomfort which environmental officers endured in the bucket of pick-ups, exposed them to stigma because people identified them when they finished the burial and sat in the same bucket of the vehicle back to the office.
“We are ready to do the work, government must come to our aid. We need to be protected. Help us to do this work with ease”, adding that efficient burial of the deceased was critical to the fight against the virus.
She pointed out that all burials undertaken so far at the cemetery had been done in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards and protocols.
The country had of yesterday recorded 14, 154 confirmed cases, out of which 3,596 were active, 10,473 recovered and discharged and 85 dead.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR