Team to probe ‘inhumane’ burial of deceased COVID-19 patient in Siaya
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga has appointed a 3-member team to investigate who issued directives for the late James Oyugi to be buried in a manner against the family wishes.
Rasanga told Ramogi Radio that the decision was arrived at without consultation with his committee and they were only informed about the Ukwala burial on Sunday at 4pm.
He said once family members are out of quarantine, he will assist them to perform final burial rites.
The Siaya Governor further stated that the county will take disciplinary action against those involved.
He also warned those in the Public Health Department to stop operating without consulting their bosses.
The three-member team appointed by Rasanga is to be led by the County Police Commander Francis Kooli and CECM Governance Dismas Wakla.
The late James Oyugi, who worked at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Mombasa, died from COVID-19 on April 10.
The body was disinfected the same day and then buried at around 2:30am on Saturday.
A video of the burial that was shared on social media showed officers in protective gear carrying a body bag out of a pick-up car.
They place it inside the grave and move away from the grave site.
Distraught family members are also heard wailing in the background unable to hide their grief having not mourned him the traditional way.
The video elicited public uproar with questions abound as to how disposal of bodies should be carried out following the coronavirus pandemic.
I am shocked by the mistreatment of loved ones of and the deceased Siaya County resident claimed to have died of Covid-19 and buried in a shallow grave. Enforcement of the evidently irrational burial Rules is stigmatizing. They should be declared repugnant and unconstitutional.
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) April 12, 2020
The burial of James Oyugi in Siaya is very traumatizing to the family and friends! Why would someone be buried in such away at night?? Hadi inaogopesha! That was discrimination of the highest degree!! My beloved Health CS Mutahi Kagwe kazi haitafanywa hivo!!
— Lion Muigai (@Mohmuigai) April 12, 2020
— Dr. Miguna Miguna (@MigunaMiguna) April 12, 2020
The Ministry of Health has since published guidelines on proper disposal of deceased coronavirus patients.
1. Arrival of the Body disposal team
2. The staff should not be wearing PPE upon arrival.
3. Greet the family and offer your condolences before unloading the necessary material from the vehicles. Request respectfully for a family representative.
4. The communicator should liaise with the family representative for the final rites
Before handling the remains, health officials will be required to be in protective gear and will spray the body before placing it in the appropriate body bag.
If a coffin is necessary, it will be placed outside the house, and then the body will be placed by health officials in full protective equipment.
A family representative in gloves will then be allowed to close the coffin after which it will be disinfected. The body will then be interred.
After the burial, health officials will disinfect rooms, clothes or other items that the deceased may have used or interacted with before they leave the home.