Repatriated body triggers COVID-19 scare in Chivhu

HEALTH workers in Chivhu have called on government to prioritise community education on COVID-19 after a family held a normal two-day funeral wake for a dead relative whose remains were repatriated from South Africa on Saturday.

According to local health officials, over 100 people on Sunday attended Trust Tokoda’s funeral wake in Mombeyarara village under Headman Madamombe’s area. Tokoda died in Pretoria on July 17.

The family reportedly followed the traditional burial rites and ignored government guidelines.

Government recently declared that all repatriated bodies, except deaths by accident should be treated as COVID-19 deaths to ensure strict measures on burial were observed.

Heath officials who spoke to NewsDay said government should provide resources for effective awareness campaigns on COVID-19, especially among rural folk since some families were not following the government guidelines out of
ignorance.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Stewart Mudzingwa said monitoring of suspected COVID-19 cases was not done properly in communities because health workers did not have enough personal protective equipment and transport to go the affected areas.

“The government should not underestimate the importance of community education in the fight against the deadly virus. People continue to stigmatise COVID-19 cases because of lack of adequate knowledge on the disease. There is also need for collective efforts of various government ministries to put resources together to effectively fight COVID-19,” he said.

Chikomba district COVID-19 taskforce acting chairperson Monica Mutimba said Tokoda’s body arrived late Saturday evening, hence burial could not be conducted overnight.

“The district COVID-19 taskforce was making efforts to ensure that the funeral was held in adherence to government guidelines, but the body arrived late,” she said.

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