In curbing the wide spread of the dreaded Lassa fever, the federal government has cleared the air concerning the handling of dead bodies by relatives of the deceased by stating that they would be allowed to do so as religious and cultural beliefs must be respected.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Abdusalam Nasidi, made the views and observations on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the emergency National Council on Health on Lassa fever outbreak.
He said relatives of the deceased must oblige to disinfect dead bodies which should be carried before and after in double body bags as well as ensuring that graves are dug very deep.
“Families will not be denied the bodies of their deceased relatines because there must be respect for religious and cultural beliefs. The real problem is that the culture of some people to wash dead bodies before burial. However, we warn against contact with the bodies as a bid towards curtailing the virus.
“Relatives will have to ensure that the bodies of the deceased are disinfected with chlorine and it is recommend that the bodies should be packaged in double body bags. We also advise that graves must be dug very deep.”
In thesame vein, a male patient who tested positive to the disease was reported to have escaped from a hospital in Ebonyi state to an unknown destination.
The minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole who expressed dismay concerning the situation stated that the patient could not have absconded on his own without the help of some of the healthcare givers in the hospital and has so far directed that the patient must be looked for and treated immediately.
“He should be traced and taken back to the facility. He should be reassured that he will live if the treatment is done promptly as he could not have absconded on his own without the support of the health officers.
He lamented that so much is been expected from the Ebonyi state government as it has not done enough. He said there was no need for patients to be transferred to Irrua in Edo state when the state has a functional healthcare centre.