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23 People Catch Deadly Ebola After Exhuming Infected Body

Ugandans have been warned against exhuming eloba bodies

The Ministry of Health has warned Ugandans against exhuming bodies of victims of Ebola after reports emerged that one family exhumed an infected body, further leading to the high spread of the deadly virus, saying such actions can wipe out the entire district.

The Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng issued the warning during a trip to assess the ongoing ebola outbreak in Mubende and Kassanda district alongside officials from World Health Organization, American Ambassador, UNICEF and other officials from the Ministry of Health.

“The burial teams aren’t enjoying the burials; they are doing it for the good of the community and they aren’t doing it because you can’t do it. They are doing it to protect the communities, so the communities need to understand that those bodies are very infectious, playing around with those bodies, tampering with them, carrying out traditional rituals will expose more people to infections, the infections will continue to spread and your district will be in danger. Ebola can wipe out the entire district,” said Minister Aceng.

The warning comes at the time reports indicate that recently, a muslim man who succumbed to ebola in Mubende district was buried by the Ministry of Health ebola team, but the family was dissatisfied with the burial process and went on to exhume the body, clean and rebury the body according to Islamic traditions.

Minister Aceng revealed that exhuming and later reburying led to the infection of 23 people in Kalwana Village in Kikandwa Sub-County and the Ministry has cited 529 contacts who are being followed originating from the said case.

Dr. Munir Safieldin Country Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called on the Ministry of Health to involve the community in the Ebola burial team trainings to overcome the habit of exhuming bodies of Ebola victims by the community.

“We need to have different approaches, we need to have people from different communities joining the burial teams and joining the training of the burial teams to hear from them, what is dignified burial and how can we make sure that that the teams are doing safe and dignified burial that will not resort in the communities going to exhume the bodies,” said Safieldin.

He said that although there have been proposals to have security beefed up in the ebola infected districts to protect the graves, the proposal isn’t sustainable.

“We can’t fix that challenge by going to the mufti to make a decree, it will not work or going to the church to make a decision. We can’t go to the grave to watch over each grave for the coming six months,” said Safieldin.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicates that the cumulative confirmed cases of ebola in Uganda now stands at 129 cases, while confirmed deaths stand at 37 and the recoveries are 43.

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