Yeji: Residents break into hospital mortuary, steal body of suspected COVID-19 person

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The Management of St. Mathias Catholic Hospital at Yeji in the Bono East Region has suspended non-emergency and mortuary services.

This comes after some residents of Kojo Boffour, a neighbouring community allegedly attacked workers of the facility last Friday and removed the remains of a person suspected to have died from COVID-19.

In an interview with Citi News, a management member of the hospital, Rev. Father Kojo Adjei Buadu, called for the arrest and subsequent prosecution of the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to other members of the community.

He noted, “There was an issue concerning a body that was brought in here. Initially, the person had been brought to the hospital and it was suspected that he had COVID-19 and so a sample of him was taken to Kumasi. The family vehemently disagreed to allow the person to be isolated and so they sent the person home and later on, it happened that he passed on and was brought to the hospital mortuary without the notice of management.”

“Later on, when we found out, we made sure that all the protocols were followed. We actually spoke to the family so that they will allow the COVID protocols to be followed. But they insisted that they wouldn’t agree. All of a sudden, we noticed that on Friday, the youth came to the hospital around 4 pm, beat the security men on duty, broke into the mortuary, and took the body for burial. This has come about not because we want to punish the people, but to bring the perpetrators to book.”

Burial of persons who died from COVID-19
The latest coronavirus update from the Ghana Health Service indicates that 215 persons have succumbed to the disease.

In Accra, the Public Health Directorate of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) had been helping to bury remains of persons suspected to have COVID-19 at the Awudome Cemetary.

All burials of COVID-19 infected persons are undertaken per the World Health Organization (WHO) standards and protocols.

The bodies are buried at a designated site earmarked by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly for the burial of persons who die of infectious diseases.

The Head of the Environmental Health Department of the AMA, Florence Kuukyi, had earlier indicated that more families continue to register with the Assembly to take over the burial of their loved ones who died as a result of COVID-19 infection.

She explained that all burials were done under the strict supervision of Environmental Health Officers of the Assembly, adding that none of the bodies buried so far was viewed naked.