Hoima COVID-19 Burial Teams Investigated for Extortion

By Leilah Bbaale

The Hoima Regional referral hospital COVID-19 Treatment Unit.

The Hoima City COVID-19 Taskforce committee is investigating allegations of extortion against the burial teams in the area.

Hoima Resident City Commissioner Samuel Kisembo Araali says that members of the burial team attached to Hoima Regional Referral Hospital have reportedly been charging between 300,000 and 700,000 Shillings from relatives of those who succumb to COVID-19 to cover costs of disinfecting the body and facilitate burial ceremonies.

He says one of the cases was reported over the weekend at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, where relatives of a person who succumbed to COVID-19 were asked to pay 700,000 Shillings to facilitate the burial team to conduct the burial.  A relative of the deceased told Uganda Radio Network on condition of anonymity that they were stuck after failing to raise the amount required to have the body transported and buried.

Kisembo describes the practice as illegal and a big burden to the community saying it will scare away Covid-19 patients from being admitted at the facility in fear of meeting such exorbitant charges in case of deaths.  He says the issue is being investigated and called on the public to be on alert and report such people to security personnel.

COVID-19 Treatment and Burial teams were trained in the district last year to handle the burials of those that succumb to the deadly virus. The service is supposed to be provided at no cost, but with caution, to avoid contamination and guarantee safe and dignified burials for the deceased.

A source at Hoima Hospital told Spice FM that the Hospital management was locked up in a crisis meeting on Monday with both the City and the District COVID-19 Taskforce committees to deal with the issues surrounding the management of the disease as cases surge. Three patients are reported to have succumbed to COVID-19 at Hoima Hospital over the weekend.

Meanwhile in the neighbouring Kikuube district, health officials are worried about the increasing cases of COVID-19.   Kikuube district health department is currently managing 25 cases of COVID-19.

Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC says that of the cases, eight are health workers, nine are humanitarian workers, one police officer and others from the community. He notes that all these cases were detected over the weekend, and warns the public against violating measures that were put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.

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