COVID-19 burial team on strike over lack of logistics

The group said members decided to lay down their tools because the government has failed to provide them "with the needed resources"

The Environmental Health Workers in charge of the burial of COVID-19 dead bodies have declared an industrial strike effective Wednesday 18 August 2021.

The directive was issued by the leadership of the Environmental Health Officers Alliance-Ghana (EHOA-GH) made up of over 7,000 health practitioners.

Speaking to Asaase News on Wednesday, the group said members decided to lay down their tools because the government has failed to provide them “with the needed resources for us to be able to discharge our duties.”

The president of the group, Yaw Akwaa Lartey, stressed that “we’ve laid down our tools for now. Our members are contracting COVID-19, so we’re laying down our tools until the government gives us equipment.”

He said: “We’re not burying the bodies again. We’ve families.”

Touching on the logistics they require, Lartey said: “We need disinfection materials and PPE. We need a private hearse stationed at the assemblies, specifically for COVID-19 dead bodies. We’re forced to use the same hearse for ordinary bodies which is wrong. We’re using private hearse and unfortunately when it is not available we’re forced to use the KIA trucks that convey foodstuff to Accra.”

Lartey told Asaase Radio’s Jonathan Ofori in the Ashanti Region that they have written several “letters to the minister of health, minister of local government and the COVID-19 response team since May 2020, and nothing has happened.”

He warned the incident could affect the fight against the virus if government fails to respond to their demands.

Increasing cases

The indefinite strike comes amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

At least 524 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) pushing the country’s active cases to 6,265

The death toll hits 945 after 15 additional fatalities were recorded across the country, an update on the GHS COVID-19 dashboard reveals.

As at  14 August  2021, Ghana’s total confirmed cases stand at 112,378. Currently, health officials have recorded 105,168 recoveries.

So far, 128 persons are in severe condition while 51 remain critical, according to GHS. Cases detected at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are 2,523  with 2,361 recoveries.

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
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