Sierra Leone News: Safe & dignified burial is FREE
The operations of the Concern Worldwide/ Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) burial teams and International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) teams are free of cost, according to the Victor H. Kamara, Manager Safe & Dignified Burial MOHS/Concern team.
He explained that the MOHS teams are being managed by Concern Worldwide after an MOU was signed
Concern Worldwide took over burial operations on the 19th October 2014 with 10 burial teams that have increased over time to 14 teams he explained. This, he said, enables teams to have training on infection prevention and control (IPC), counseling and rest days, while standby teams rove in the 4 zones to cover operational demands.
Speaking to Awoko, he explained that there is a written burial Standard Operating Procedure that has been the guide to their operations since the start of the EVD outbreak and is approved by Government.
The funds for the Burial team operations, he also explained are being provided by the donor DFID.
Burial team members have been receiving a weekly hazard pay since October 19 and payments have been consistent.
The Manager said that all official burial teams in the Western Area are managed by either Concern Worldwide or IFRC and each team has a swab team attached to it. There are 20 official burial teams (10 Concern and 10 IFRC) working each day and are highly motivated by organizational standards and the impetus to serve the Nation in this time of crisis and human suffering.
The burial teams managed by Concern Worldwide and IFRC are under strict orders according to the SoP not to demand or accept any money or favor for conducting burials.
However, he stated, unofficial burial teams are extorting money from grieving families for the services of burials in cemeteries of choice of the families. He also noted that unofficial teams including those from Connaught Hospital however demand huge sums of money from grieving families in the name of payment for Swab result, fuel for vehicle, money for RSLAF officers at the gate to allow them to pass, payment for burial team, and other excuses.
He stressed that this is a ploy to exploit grieving families by unofficial teams.
The official said that the official burial teams managed by Concern Worldwide and IFRC do not demand for money for Safe and Dignified burials and are however under increasing pressure from families for exceptional treatment but due to the unsafe burials being one of the highest modes of transmission, teams must adhere to the Safe and Dignified Burial protocols. ‘This service is free of cost at all stages,’ he declared. The Manager also declared that if there is any request or breach of these systems, people should call Concern Complaint Number 078804555/ 077200698.
Friday July 10, 2015