A cash-strapped Hoima district COVID-19 burial team has resorted to directly charging those who have to bury their loved ones who have succumbed to the pandemic.
The burial team charges shillings 500,000 per person because they have not been receiving funds from the Ministry of Health. The money is used to procure necessary protective wear and services of the burial team.
The head of the team Samuel Kisembo explained that the funds are also used for case management, surveillance and laboratory, risk communication and logistics.
At least shillings 165 million had been allocated to help sub committees carry out the burial arrangements. Kisembo reveals that this money ran out a long time ago and the team has been forced to improvise to serve their community.
Kisembo says when a community member dies of COVID-19, the burial teams negotiate with the family of the deceased.
Kisembo says, “The families have to facilitate the burial team so as to accord the deceased a decent burial.’’
He adds, ‘’From the information I’m getting, the team asks for about shillings 500, 000 which involves treating the body, disinfectants yet in my thinking it’s the responsibility of government.’’
Kisembo says the improvised solution is unsustainable as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the district and around the country. He worries about families that are not able to meet such burial expenses.
‘’Locals now have a feeling that once they are positive, they will be held in the CTU and once they die it becomes expensive for their families to bury them,” he reasons.
Hoima district has 326 COVID-19 cumulative cases with 8 of these in the Covid-19 treatment Unit, 168 under home care and 11 registered deaths.