News / Africa

WHO: Traditional Burials Hamper Ebola Fight

FILE - Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
FILE - Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
Pamela Dockins

World Health Organization officials say traditional burial practices are among the obstacles that are making it difficult to control the worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa's history.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said health and relief workers have been trying to educate families in the affected region about how to bury their loved ones without exposing themselves to the virus.

He said people who touch the dead could be putting themselves at risk.

"At the moment when a person died from Ebola, this is the moment when the person is the most infectious and when the viral load is the highest," he said.

Dangerous practice

Jasarevic has been working with local officials in Guinea and Sierra Leone. In many cultures, he said, families wash the bodies of their loved ones before burial, but this practice is dangerous for Ebola victims because of the presence of bodily fluids.

"Usually there is the point just before the death, there is bleeding," he said.

Jasarevic also said their could be vomit or diarrhea.

Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014
x
Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014
Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014

Peter Schleicher, a Red Cross operations manager in Liberia, said another obstacle for relief workers in affected communities is fear, explaining that people in some communities have prevented trained health professionals from safely burying Ebola victims.

"We got a report back from one of our teams in the field that they have now been blocked by the angry community and they have been denied access," he said.

Schleicher said the team members were told to turn back to keep from putting themselves at risk.

He said relief workers have been trying to alleviate fears and inform communities that Ebola victims can be safely buried by trained specialists, who take extra precautions.

"The body will be disinfected and then be put into one body bag and disinfected again," he said.

"And this body bag will be put into the outer body bag. So actually, one body will be using two body bags," said Schleicher.

He said relief workers are sensitive to fears and burial traditions. But they have been trying to persuade communities to heed their advice, and allow trained specialists to handle the bodies of Ebola victims.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 04, 2014 3:54 PM
God Bless people of the affected regions of the outbreak of Ebola


by: Dr. Quay from: USA
August 02, 2014 9:55 PM
People, yet another ORCHESTRATED FALSE FLAG, to bring fear and hysteria to the country. This was done ON PURPOSE, government creates the crises then presents themselves as the answer. Cloward and Piven. It is completely unprecedented for any government to take in a person affected with a contagious disease unknown to that country.



However, both the United States and Germany have now brought Ebola patients inside their countries, and the patient brought to the U.S. was admitted to a hospital with only moderate security, making it easier for Ebola to spread outside the medical facility.

The U.S. government and its political system could not care less about the health of individual Americans, and to bring Ebola into America is a disaster in the making of which only the government will benefit through its power grab in response to the health crisis it created. I work at the hospital, I know the story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Response

by: Betty Condon from: USA
August 03, 2014 11:30 AM
Marsha, perhaps if you watched INFOWARS.COM it would help you to pull your head out of the sand.

In Response

by: Marsha from: USA
August 02, 2014 10:58 PM
Apparently "Dr. Quay" you do not know what you are talking about perhaps you should steer your comments to the CDC (?) They have keep us all informed of the situation in West Africa. Too many small minded people in this world and None are willing to help another human. I may not be medically qualified in the field of medicine but I am however qualified in a field of compassion.. I am quite certain the CDC and Other ie governments know long before we do what's going on but I am quite sure "Many People " should at the very least trust the CDC People. When was the last time a patient didn't trust you IF you are a doctor?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid