July 13, 2016 By Victoria Saffa
Director of Disease Control and Prevention at the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre, Dr. Foday Dafae has stated that although they would scale down, swabbing of dead bodies meeting the Ebola case definition would continue.
He made the disclosure yesterday during a press conference at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) building at Cockerill, army headquarters.
According to Dr. Dafae, deaths meeting the Ebola case definition would activate action by the rapid response team to conduct swabbing, adding that it would be strongly recommended to receive safe and dignified burials in order to protect public health, especially close relatives.
He said disease surveillance officers in all fourteen districts would determine which dead bodies to be swabbed.
He said though that only deaths that meet the criteria set out by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, as determined by officers in the districts, would be investigated and swabbed.
He added that some unexplained deaths would also be swabbed even if they do not meet the case definition for Ebola.
He continued that all deaths should be reported to 117 or the nearest health facility in order to maintain Sierra Leone’s real time death register, adding that death certificates and burial permits were still mandatory.
“We want to work with our communities to prevent future outbreaks. Even though we have ended mandatory swabbing, we ask that you continue to report all deaths to 117 or your nearest health facility,” he appealed.
He said the reason why people should report all deaths was to heighten surveillance and monitoring of infectious diseases, which according to him, was key to preventing an outbreak from turning into an epidemic like Ebola.