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“Stop Threatening! Rather Train Us On How To Handle Covid-19 Dead Bodies” – Pathologists Cautioned

General Secretary of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MoWAG), Richard Kofi Jordan has cautioned Pathologists at various hospitals to stop threatening and rather train morticians on how to handle Covid-19 dead bodies to avoid the spread of the virus in the country.

According to Mr Jordan, since they have not been trained on how to handle such dead bodies, it is difficult for them to go about performing their duties.

Speaking on an Accra-based radio station, Mr Jordan said “As we speak, we have an issue pending where a mortician was asked to go for a corpse which has been identified as covid-19. Since we have not been trained on how to handle such dead bodies, it is difficult for us to go for it but the pathologist has threatened to have the mortician, transferred if he does come for the dead body”

He added that the Association is unhappy about the treatment meted to its staffs adding they will not cheapen their lives at the expense of the virus.

Mr Jordan hinted aside Korle-Bu having 11 covid-19 dead bodies, both Ga-East hospital and Ridge hospital have their specific numbers.

“What about those that are dying from the house? We are missing a point. They are only reporting that we have 24 deaths but honestly people are dying from the house. We are also receiving bodies of people who have died but not from covid-19. In most villages, bodies are directed straight to the morgue. It is only a few that die from the hospital” he explained.

The General Secretary hinted although the Health Minister has asked citizens to live with the virus because it has become a normal disease, most morgues are getting congested.

He explained that the lives of mortuary workers are at a high risk as they often come in contact with the dead bodies with personal protective equipments.

He said “If care is not taken, we will keep counting more infecting rates because it is very scary. The workers are not safe as they cannot tell if they are safe to even interact with their families. The work load of mortuary men are too much that some people sometimes make us remove the packed bodies bring out theirs”

He advised people who often visit the mortuaries to be careful adding the virus are easily transferred from dead bodies to people easily since it is a fluid.

“Some diseases are very contagious whiles others are not. Until the body is embalmed anything can happen. One can get infected with HIV/AIDS if the body is not embalmed, one can contract. The fridges used at the morgue in Ghana are not fridges. We are not serious. We have to get to a point where that saying, we are the leaders in Africa must manifest. Some fridges get broken and mortuary men are left stranded. Some facilities have stand-by generators whiles others don’t have” he reiterated

He explained that the awful smell inhaled on daily basis is very harmful to the health of a mortuary man adding that all manner of deaths brought to the morgue, needs to be worked on.

He said “As we are talking about covid-19, Authorities are not seeing the need to ran us through how to deal with patients who died from it. Some family members have buried their covid-19 dead bodies whiles others are yet to come. I don’t agree with the data from the Ministry of health talking about the number of deaths recorded”

He advised the public to continue adhering to the social distancing directives.

“To those who come to the morgue and cry. You are not banned but do not make noise. I will beg Ghanaians to carry their nose mask and sanitizers to the morgues if they don’t want to be disgraced. To people who have kept their dead relatives in the morgue for long, should kindly speed up, observe the private burial directives”

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith