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Ministry of Health Admits Error in the Siaya Burial of COVID-19 Victim

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe [Photo/Courtesy]

The Ministry of Health has admitted that laid down guidelines for disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims were not followed during the burial of James Oyugi Onyango, a Covid-19 victim in Siaya.

In response to a letter written by Siaya Senator James Orengo on behalf of the Senate Adhoc Committee, an apologetic Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said that it was not the wish of the ministry to conduct the burial as it happened which was not in line with the guidelines

“We sincerely regret the incident regarding the burial of the late James Oyugi Onyango. It is not the wish of the ministry to conduct the burial as it happened which was not in line with the guidelines that promotes a dignified burial process, respect for the deceased and the respect of the rights of the family,” said Kagwe.

Kagwe also admitted that the family was not consulted during the burial which happened at 2am in a shallow grave.

Read: Government Pathologist Says Siaya Burial Was Unprocedural, Rules Out Exhumation

“The guidelines are clear that the family is informed and only close members of the family are allowed at the burial ceremony and must maintain social distance of not less than one meter in sitting and standing arrangements. The family is also supposed to be informed that the body shall not be opened for viewing,” added Kagwe.

The Ministry also confirmed that that Mr Onyango died of Covid-19.

“According to the information obtained from the county health team. the late Mr James Oyugi Onyango died of COVID 19 Disease. The patient presented to Matibabu Hospital. Ukwala where clinical case definition of Covid 19 disease was done. Covid 19 County Response teams were informed and a post-humous laboratory test confirmed Corona Virus infection,” explained Kagwe.

This comes days after Siaya governor Cornel Rasanga apologised to the family and set up a five member team to probe the bizarre burial of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee.

Read: Governor Rasanga Apologizes Over Inhumane “Siaya Burial” After Public Uproar

According to Rasanga, the county government will take disciplinary action against those involved in the dishonourable act.

The bereaved family will after the required 14 day quarantine period perform the final burial rites, Rasanga said.

Kenyans have been demanding that the body is exhumed, and Mr Onyango be given a decent send off.

However, Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor, despite admitting that the burial was wrong, has ruled out possibility of exhuming the body for a decent burial.

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. Believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye.
Follow me on Twitter @FmuliKE. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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