Managements of Funeral homes are cashing in on the COVID-19 outbreak
Managements of some funeral homes in Accra are cashing in on the outbreak of COVID-19 as the cost of their services has increased between 10 and 15per cent.
The increase has resulted largely due to changes in the mode of transporting the corpse and the handling of other funeral activities as well as operational cost.
Speaking to Spot On News in Accra on Friday, the Managing Director (MD) of Lashibi Funeral Homes Limited, Dr Andrew Ananie Arkutu indicated that the risk of contracting the coronavirus is high therefore the home had adopted new safety etiquette to secure the lives of their staff.
“Our ambulances and other gadgets are disinfected before and after transporting dead bodies from the various hospitals to the morgue because every dead body is now treated as a potential COVID-19 carrier, adding we provide the staffs with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to ensure their safety.”
He indicated that restrictions imposed on public gathering and social distancing directive had increased the number of dead bodies entrusted in their care as many bereaved families failed to hold private burial services.
This situation, Dr Arkutu said has compelled the service providers to embalm the corpses.
Mr John Coffie, the MD of Gillman and Abbey Funeral Service, who confirmed that many bereaved families were unwilling to hold private burial services as directed Ministry of Health the onus now lies on them to assist in rendering such services.
He explained that before the pandemic, the home used to hold about 19 funeral ceremonies in a week, however, the situation had changed as they currently hold just about three or no burial service at all.
Mr Coffie noted that the pandemic had swayed many families to organising graveside funerals with some also postponing their memorial services in anticipation of a possible lifting of the restriction in totality.
He stated that within the African setting people were passionate about “last respect,” thus failed to observe the current protocol which demanded that not more than 100 people gather to bury their loved ones.
As a result of the existing protocols all service providers, he explained agreed to host a quiet church services usually not lasting more than one hour to enable loved ones to pay their last respects in batches to avoid congestion.
Mr Coffie said most homes has adopted digital service which allowed them to be streaming live funeral services using zoom and other apps to ensure inclusive participation of loved ones for the bereaved family to be satisfied.
The government as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak issued directives limiting the number of persons who could participate in the burials and other social service activities.
This directive largely disrupted planned funerals and other public engagements as many families resorting to the hiring of private funeral homes to undertake the burial of their loved ones at extra cost.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE