ABUJA - Medical doctors, under the ambit of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have criticised the Federal Government over the open burial rites given to the former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Abba Kyari, who died as a result of Coronavirus, saying the situation may compound the spread of the pandemic in the country.
The Secretary-General of NARD, Dr. Bilqis Muhammed, blamed the government for allowing a large crowd to observe the burial rites of the late Kyari in Abuja, knowing the implication and impact the Coronavirus pandemic could have on the country, during the lockdown.
Dr. Muhammed, who lamented how the Federal Government is handling the effort to control the spread of COVID-19, said the Minister of Health, who has been on an enlightenment programme on the pandemic, should have discouraged the kind of gathering at the burial of the former Chief of Staff, while calling for the identification and self- isolation of those present at the burial.
She said: “Transmission of COVID-19 disease is possible from a deceased person. Any person who is approaching the body must be highly kitted, just the way you are prepared, when approaching a person infected with Coronavirus.
“Now, you are aware that in Islamic tradition, there is a ritual bath before the burial of a deceased. So, there are those who are expected to take charge of the ritual bath. And there are also guidelines from knowledgeable Islamic scholars, who have also linked up with the Federation of Islamic Medical Association, who is working in compliance with NCDC’s guidelines. The expectation is that there should be waterproof body bags that help to fulfil the role of cloth covering.
“The ritual bath is not mandatory in this instance, because of the potential risk to those alive.
There is also the option of cremation. What happened after washing of the body, if it had to be done? That means all those who participated in the ritual bath have to go into self-isolation, because there is a potential risk to public health.”
Muhammed explained that all the materials, including the personal protective materials, hand gloves, eye-goggle and face masks, among others, used during the ritual should be properly disposed off.
“And all the people who participated in the funeral rites must have a shower with soap before leaving the burial site. They must change their clothes and dip them in sodium hypochlorite or use any other standard disinfectant as per NCDC guideline, which is in line with World Health Organisation (WHO)…” she said.
She described as irresponsible and double standard the situation, where the FG would announce measures for public safety, but government and its officials would turn round to violate the same measures.