The COVID-19 Burial Team of the Tema Metro Environmental Health Department, on Thursday said four persons who died from COVID-19 complications would be buried at the weekend.
The 20-man COVID-19 Burial Team have already buried about 40 bodies and cremated the body of one expatriate; this was disclosed to the Ghana News Agency in Tema jointly by Mr Wisdom Aditsey, Tema Metro Environmental Officer, and Mr David Anertey Abbey, Senior Environmental Officer in charge of the burials.
The two officers noted that a portion of the Tema Community nine cemetery had been designated for the burial of persons who died from infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Mr Aditsey explained that all the 40 deceased were not necessarily residents of Tema, neither did all the deaths occurred at health institutions in Tema, explaining that bereaved family members who resided in Tema preferred burying their relatives in the Metropolis.
Touching on the burial procedure, he said his outfit liaised with the hospitals and the Tema Health Directorate who prompt them on the occurrence of the death of a COVID-19 patient.
Such burials, he said, were expected to be carried out within a week of occurrence with a maximum of two weeks grace period.
“Because the bodies are infectious, we do not hand over the bodies to the family or allow them to be laid in state,” he said, adding that trained environmental health officers have the skills to bury such bodies without exposing others to the disease.
The Tema Metro Environmental Health Officer explained that as part of the burial protocols, the Burial Team meet with the families and take them through the modalities.
He said the families mostly caters for the cost of burial, including paying for the coffin as well as the hearse as the Unit engages the services of private operators for the transportation of the body.
He called for the provision of the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and disinfectants to aid the work of the team and protect them from contracting the virus while discharging their duties.
He noted that as part of the burial protocols, the team would disinfect the body which would be wrapped in a body bag before it is put in the coffin which had also been disinfected. The hearse is also disinfected before and after burial.
The team noted that in addition to PPEs, disinfectants were a major logistic that must be in constant supply to the team, they therefore appealed for support.