Ebola: Buganda kingdom warns locals against exhuming bodies

Ebola

The Katikkiro’s call came at a time when health officials have revealed that exhumation of bodies by locals in Kassanda is the main cause of the escalating Ebola cases in the district.

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The Katikkiro said religious and cultural leaders should desist from violating the guidelines which were issued by World Health Organisation to control the spread of Ebola virus.

The Prime Minister (Katikkiro) of Buganda, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, has warned the public against exhuming bodies of Ebola victims to perform cultural and religious rituals, saying it puts theirs and other people’s lives at risk.

Speaking to the media after the closed door meeting with the British High Commissioner, Ambassador Kate Airey, who had paid a courtesy visit to Bulange, the headquarters of the kingdom in Kampala yesterday, the Katikkiro said religious and cultural leaders should desist from violating the guidelines which were issued by World Health Organisation to control the spread of Ebola virus.

“As Buganda Kingdom, we advise all Ugandans and Kabaka subjects not to exhume bodies of Ebola victims that have been buried, even  for  purposes of  carrying out religious rights such as washing the bodies that is carried out  by Muslims before burial. It is a sign of violating Ebola guidelines,” he said.

He added that bodies of those who have died from Ebola are highly infectious and the moment one gets into contact with them, they automatically get infected. He said if there is need, such exhumation should be done by the experts only.  

The Katikkiro’s call came at a time when health officials have revealed that exhumation of bodies by locals in Kassanda is the main cause of the escalating Ebola cases in the district.

Dr Geofrey Bwire, an assistant commissioner in the Ministry of Health, said following the exhumation of the body of an Ebola victim, 23 confirmed cases out of the total 42 suspected cases in the district were registered, of which 546 contacts were traced from the burial. Mr Mayiga also said Ebola virus is not witchcraft and that it can be treated in the hospitals. He asked people not to panic, urging them to heed the recommendations issued by health experts to keep safe.

He added that since Ambassador Airey worked in Sierra Leone for some time, she is conversant with the impact of Ebola virus. Sierra Leone has experienced several incidents of Ebola outbreak, with the first occuring in 2014.

"If we do not heed the advise given by health experts, we  are going to face trouble of the second lockdown, and this means severe economic conditions because there will be no tourists, investors, even not getting out of our homes," he said.

“All suspects should not flee from isolation centres because it also puts the public at risk . If you have been quarantined, you have to stay in the isolation centre until you fully recover because it is extremely important,” he said. 

Ambassador Airey said yesterday’s visit to Bulange was mainly to appreciate Buganda Kingdom in person for the condolences and support they offered to the High Commission when they lost Queen Elizabeth II. 

“Since we are monarchies and the Kingdom of Buganda is a monarchy,   there is strong connection between both monarchies and we understand one another. The grief we go through and experience, we share. We were very touched  with  the support  we received  during that difficult moment,’’ Ambassador Airey said.

Sheadded that this is a long complex relationship that should be taken forward to remain as strong  partners. Both leaders applauded health workers in Uganda for the great job they have done in dealing with Ebola virus.

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