OCTOBER 16, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Community stakeholders at the Culvert slum community in the east of the capital yesterday called on the government to recruit Ebola survivors into the burial teams for the Western Area as part of measures to ensure the teams handle dead bodies with respect.
During a community dialogue organized by Youth Development Movement on the prevention and control of the Ebola virus disease, some of the stakeholders expressed dissatisfaction with regards the way and manner in which the Ebola burial teams are treating corpses of respected community members who had died of Ebola.
According to them, Ebola survivors understand the disease better because they have been cured from it, and that if they are part of the burial teams they will show compassion as to how they treat those that have succumbed to the virus.
“Members of the burial teams are treating dead bodies as if they are not humans. We are pleading with the government to find another strategy of collecting dead bodies and those affected by the disease. The way they are collecting dead bodies now is disrespectful,” Morlai Kargbo, a respected community elder said and urged that some family members should accompany the burial teams to the grave to witness the interment of their loved ones.
He claimed that the burial teams are very brutal in the way they collect dead bodies across the city and suggested that bodies should be collected at night and not during the day to reduce fear and discrimination among the populace.
Kargbo added that it is painful that Muslim victims are being buried without washing or final funeral rites, as dictated by their religion.
For his part, Abdul Kargbo urged the government to ensure that members of the Ebola burial teams are counselled on what to do when they are called to collect dead bodies.
With regards the impact of the Ebola outbreak on education and business, the stakeholders stated that there has been a sudden spike in the prices of goods, especially foodstuff, and a drop in sales in the market, as well as an increase in teenage pregnancy as a result of the closure of schools.
The latter claim though cannot be empirically verified.
Also, during a similar event at the Fullah Town community in Calaba Town this Monday, Robin Thomas called for the immediate isolation of Freetown because of the exponential increase in the number of new cases.
He accused the government of insincerity because, according to him, they are not implementing what they tell the public in the media with regards the Ebola fight.