Anambra begins training for mortuary attendants

The Anambra State Government, on Thursday, began training for mortuary attendants in the state and threatened to close down mortuaries that did not send their attendants for training.

Acting Director of Primary Health care and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Okafor, who spoke to Daily Independent at the venue of the training in Awka, said that was the first time government wanted to know how the attendants live and how they protect themselves.

After the training, Okafor said the mortuary attendants would be given heavy protective equipment that is costing the state government over N100, 000 per attendant to protect themselves.

According to him, the ministry intended to enrol at least one person per mortuary, saying the ministry has brought knowledgeable physicians, including a consultant pathologist, to train them.

He praised the state Commissioner for Health, Joe Akabuike, who introduced several training programmes after assuming office. One of the trainers and a consultant with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Jane Ezeonu, said the training was to make the mortuary attendants understand infection and control management, and to understand what they do. Ezeonu took the attendants on what they suppose to do when they receive a corpse in their mortuaries and the method they use in preserving corpses. Also, a consultant pathologist, Professor Igwebuike Onyiaoha, said the training became necessary because there is no school of Mortuary attendants in the country.

According to Onyiaoha, some diseases that kill a victim can also infect the mortuary attendants and so there is need to protect themselves. He also said the mortuary attendants need to pay attention to the way some people die and what to do in each circumstance. He cited instance of the Ebola cases, saying without the mortuary attendant understanding the cause of death, they also fall victim of the ailment that claimed the life of the person whose corpse they try to preserve.

He said given that they lacked basic training, they try in the way they handle corpses but have not reached the optimal practice. According to him, there are things to do while receiving a dead body, saying mortuary attendants, who have not attended any training are at risk.

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