“Pray for us”: coronavirus burial teams call for adequate resources

Coronavirus burial teams say burials involving victims are risky and very expensive hence the need for the government and other stakeholders to adequately resource the teams

Ghana News Agency (Ho) – Aaron Amedzro, the municipal environmental health officer for Ho, has appealed to the government to resource Coronavirus burial teams for “effective” and safe internment of victims of the pandemic.

He said the support given the burial teams was inadequate despite the risk of infection and called for prayers for the team members. Amedzro made the appeal at a quarterly meeting of District and Municipal Environmental Health Officers in Ho, Volta Region.

“The burials are risky and the labourers are becoming expensive. Access to Personal protective equipment (PPEs) has become a challenge and it is endangering the lives of the members of the burial teams. Please pray for us … we are risking our lives and that of our families,” he said.

Amedzro said getting land for Covid-19 burials was another challenge, and that his Office was using a section of the Ho cemetery in the meantime.

He said the Environmental Health Office had also come up with a disease declaration form to help address disagreements between relatives of deceased persons and burial teams.

The Officer said the Municipal Health Emergency Management Committee was activated on the onset of the viral outbreak and added that border officials had also been oriented to act.

He said the enforcement of the protocols, particularly the closure of shops in the municipality, helped heighten compliance, yet the response of the public mitigated the efforts.

“Although we are working assiduously in Ho, community members are not doing what they are supposed to do as people who have recorded an outbreak,” Amedzro noted.

Felix Chaahaa, chief director of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, who opened the meeting, called on the District and Municipal Health Officers to buy into the vision of the Regional Office, which was working assiduously to make the Region sanitised.

He asked the officers to remain disciplined so they could instil the right practices in the populace.

Mrs Sybil Boison, the regional environmental health officer said the Office had been “thinking outside the box” in fighting the spread of the virus.

She said the Office had eyes on all potential hotspots of the COVID-19 in the region including markets, morgues, slaughterhouses, and leisure centres, and was working to improve upon the parameters.

Mrs Boison said the office owed much of its successes to the unflinching support of the Regional Coordinating Council, which had also committed to repairing a Toyota Hilux pickup truck to aid their activities.

She said community-led total sanitation in the Volta and Oti Regions were also being closely monitored to ensure best practices, and that work was ongoing to meet the set target of 200 open defecation-free communities by the year ending 2020.

Mrs Boison said setbacks including inadequate office space and funding were challenging the progress of work and appealed to Municipal and District Assemblies for support.

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Ghana News Agency 
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