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‘Avoid touching & washing dead bodies’

-Deputy Health Minister appeals

NOVEMBER 17, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Deputy Minister of Health and sanitation I on Friday (14 November) appealed to Sierra Leoneans, especially the Muslim community, to avoid touching and washing dead bodies of their loved ones and relatives in order to break the chain of Ebola transmission.

According to Foday Lahai Sawie, government recognises the fact that people, especially Muslims, customarily wash the dead bodies of their relatives before burial as a sign of last respect, but implored that the practice should be avoided for now until the Ebola virus disease is eradicated.

“Our Muslims brothers believe that when you die and are buried in the grave, an angel will come and meet you there to go through some process and they also believe that for you to cross that angel, you need to be clean, but Ebola is saying we should stop washing dead bodies,” he said.

He maintained that if people are so emotional and decide to touch and wash dead bodies of their loved ones, then the whole family would be wiped away, and stressed that sensitising the populace on how to prevent against the disease is not an easy thing to do.

Mr. Sawie was skeptical as to whether the country would survive if the deadly Ebola outbreak continues for the next six months, yet he urged Sierra Leoneans to have hope in the future.

“The people of Sierra Leone have used to touch, interact and socialise and as a government we are not oblivious of this. We know that it is something so difficult that the Ebola outbreak has asked of us. We are saying don’t touch. We are at a crossroad as a country and the choice is ours. We can choose to do all we can to save ourselves and country or say Sierra Leone go to hell,” he said.

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