Relatives to bury their covid victims as burial workers embark on strike

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Information indicates that families who have lost their relatives through COVID-19 would have to bury their relatives themselves because those in charge and mandated to bury COVID-19 dead bodies are on strike.

The Environmental Health Officers Alliance Ghana (EHOAG) has suspended the burial of all COVID-19 victims’ dead bodies in the country as they lament government has refused to provide environmental offices in various assemblies with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) and logistics to carry out their duties.

The national president for EHOAG who doubles as the acting District Environmental Health Officer for Denkyembour district in the Eastern region; Yaw Akwaa Lartey speaking on the issue indicated that “since the invasion of COVID-19 in Ghana, we the environmental health officers who are in charge of burying COVID-19 dead bodies have been buying nose masks, gloves and other basic safety gears ourselves, the government doesn’t provide us the frontliners the basic wears that will ensure our work is safe from infections.”

According to him the “government is only interested in providing the necessary logistics for the ministry of health (nurses and doctors) neglecting us to the mercy of possible COVID-19 infections from the dead bodies we bury hence we have laid down our tools, we won’t risk our lives anymore.”

He added: “Most times when the dead bodies of COVID-19 victims are dumped on us to bury we don’t even get hearse to convey the bodies to the cemetery, we are always forced to hire long KIA vehicles or tricycles, a situation that poses health threats to the public.”

Under the health profession regulatory Act 2013, there are eighteen bodies regulated by the Allied health professional council, which falls under the ministry of health, but it seems Environmental Health Officers are left out, this has triggered their industrial strike to drive home their demands.