What is a Safe Burial?
During any Ebola outbreak, all dead bodies are considered potentially infectious, and are tested post-mortem for the disease. The bodies of people who die from Ebola are highly infectious, so strict infection prevention and control is necessary. Burial teams tasked with picking up bodies from homes and villages are required to wear personal protective gear. In the case of an ETU death, the hospital hygiene team takes the body to the morgue until time for burial.
However, these strict procedures don't account for cultural and religious customs. In the West African epidemic, they were later adapted to allow family members and communities more opportunities to participate in burial rituals without risking exposure to Ebola.
This visual aid provides instructions for what to do when someone dies at home to follow prevention protocol.
Carol Rao, deployed twice to Sierra Leone, first as an infection prevention specialist, then as a regulatory liaison for STRIVE, describes her experience accompanying a burial team in Sierra Leone. (Transcript)
Burial Teams in Liberia and Sierra Leone
Safe and Dignified Medical Burials, March 2015
Produced by SMAC
Mohamed S. Kamara, Safe Burial Team Leader with the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, takes us through the steps and rules of a safe and dignified burial.