March 6, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
The National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) has re-imposed ‘Standard Operating Procedures for the burial of corpses’ and reiterated that all corpses must be buried in a safe and dignify manner by approved burial teams within twenty-hours of death, without exception and irrespective of whether they have died in hospital or tested positive for Ebola symptoms.
Chief Executive Officer of NERC, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh, announced the sudden u-turn yesterday while updating journalists on the present status of national response to the Ebola outbreak.
The re-imposed burial guidelines comes as opposition activists clashed with police yesterday as they accuse the ruling party of wanting to bury their national publicity secretary, Musa Tam Sam, who died this week after a protracted illness, ‘the Ebola way’.
But Conteh claimed the decision to re-impose safe burial practices stemmed from the fact that the recent upsurge in the outbreak has been fuelled by unsafe burial practices, and that it would be very tough for the country to record zero cases for 42 days if safe burial rites were not practiced.
He revealed that he and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, last week issued a joint letter to all District Medical Officers confirming the Standard Operating Procedures and the necessity of safe and dignified burials.
“Let this be a message to the people in positions of authority everywhere, we will not tolerate betrayals of public safety and if anybody condones unsafe burials, your job and livelihood will be forfeited. You can run but you cannot hide, we will hunt you down and bring the full force of the law against you,” he threatened.
“District Medical Officers (DMOs), District Ebola Response Centres (DERC) officials, heads of municipalities and councils and district security commanders are all reminded that there are no exceptions, no exemptions, and no circumstances whatsoever where these standard operating procedures do not apply…anyone who fails to comply with these procedures will face severe consequences,” he warned.