AMA reactivates weekly Covid-19 burials as deaths soar

Environmental health workers at the public health directorate of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) have re-activated weekly burials as deaths from Covid-19 nears the grim one thousand mark.

An average registration of three bodies daily by families of persons who succumb to the disease means the numbers awaiting burials continue to rise.

Director of Public Health, Florence Kuukyi told 3news, “we used to have a slow patch when the cases went down. We buried only sparingly, but with the third wave, we are having at least three registrations daily.”

She said the assembly has had to get back at conducting and supervising weekly burials in order to decongest the various morgues.

“We have since the outbreak registered two hundred and thirty-nine bodies for burial here at AMA, out of which over one hundred and fifty have been buried.”

Florence Kuukyi noted there are “over 50 others awaiting burial. “

She spoke to when the team carried out the burial of six bodies, Thursday, August 19, 2021, including a seventeen-year-old female at the Infectious Diseases Cemetery at Awudome.

Meanwhile, some relatives of persons who are confirmed to have died from Covid-19, continue to contend with environmental health workers over the true cause of death of their kinsmen.

Some of them allege extortion and high charges from some officials for the burial of their dead.

“If they say our father died from Covid-19, why were we not quarantined or even tested? Why were we not asked to isolate, if indeed he died from Covid-19? One of the aggrieved mourners told the team.

Another one alleged, “if the state is to take responsibility for the bodies after they die, why are we being charged monies. One thousand cedis, some people two thousand and others three thousand cedis.”

For some families, their expectation of receiving their dead for transport to faraway villages in their hometown was dashed when environmental officers denied them access.

Leader of the burial team and environmental analyst with the Accra metropolitan assembly, Inspector Joseph Asitanga denied extorting monies from the families.

He said, “we do not charge monies from them. I challenge them to provide evidence of extortion from anyone at the assembly. What it is it that, once you come to us to register your dead for burial, you pay one thousand cedis only. “

“That is what we use for catering for labourers who clear the land, as well as earthmoving equipment which smoothen the surfaces among others. These are the funds we use for transportation to the cemetery among others.”

Joseph Asitanga said the burial team continues to face resistance and hostilities from some relatives who are bent on taking matters into their hands and breach the protocols.

But maintained, ” we are going to continue according to law and keep everyone safe. We continue to appeal to them to allow us do our job. We need the cooperation of everyone.”

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