Member of parliament Josef Kauandenge has expressed concern over government’s Covid-19 victim’s burial policy and voiced hope that the country “will revisit its policy”.
“It is really disheartening for someone not to be able to find closure by being denied standing metres far away looking from a distance while your loved ones are buried. This has a psychological effect on many as they don’t find closure at all,” Kauandenge said yesterday.
He called upon health minister Kalumbi Shangula to explain in detail to the nation what the scientific findings are with regards to dead bodies infected with the Covid-19.
“Shangula should answer why these bodies cannot be given to families to bury where they want to bury their loved ones while the health ministry officials are present to make sure that the protocols are adhered to,” he said.
He said the current government policy on the burial of Covid-19 victims is not in conformity with traditional norms.
“Many Namibians are really forced to let their loved ones being buried virtually anywhere, strange to them because they are not allowed to carry these bodies to where they want to bury their loved ones,” Kauandenge said.
He added that Shangula must clarify the current government policy with scientific proof that there is contamination emanating from dead bodies. “Namibians must be allowed to bury their loved ones in a dignified manner and the places they have earmarked for them – that must not be negotiated at all,” he said.
Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe last week defended the current arrangement, maintaining regulations on standard operating procedures for Covid-19 burials are clear.
“It states that as far as practically possible, and taking sufficient care that nobody is exposed and there is no risk of infection or transmission of the virus, the family of the deceased will be allowed to conduct the traditional rituals, but this must be done in accordance with the prescripts of the regulations to ensure the risk of transmission is limited,” stated Nangombe.
“What needs to be done is for people to fully familiarise themselves with the standard operating procedures regarding Covid-19 burials and the regulations. The main idea is to ensure the grieving families are allowed to give a dignified burial.” - firstname.lastname@example.org