Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has acknowledged that James Oyugi Onyango, who succumbed to Covid-19 two weeks ago, was buried in an undignified manner.
In his submission to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee, Kagwe expressed regret over the manner in which Oyugi was buried saying it was not in line with guidelines from the Health Ministry.
“The Cabinet Secretary for Health expressed the sincere regret of the Ministry regarding the way the burial of the late James Oyugi Onyango was carried out. He conceded that this was not in line with the Guidelines issued by the Ministry, which promote a dignified burial process, respect for the deceased and respect for the rights of the family,” said Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on Tuesday.
“On the question why the protocols laid out by the Ministry were not followed in undertaking the burial, the Cabinet Secretary restated that the burial was not conducted in line with the guidelines and protocols developed by the Ministry,” Sakaja further submitted.
In response to Mutahi’s submission, the Senate has recommended that the Health CS contacts Oyugi’s family to make a private apology.
“… having acknowledged that the burial of Mr. James Owino Onyango was not carried out in line with the guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry, and noting the distress the matter has caused not just to Mr. Onyango’s immediate family but also to the community in Siaya and beyond, the Cabinet Secretary should get in touch with and offer a private apology to the family of the late Mr. Mr. James Owino Onyango,” said Sakaja.
The committee also wants the Health Ministry to roll out a robust program to train and create awareness among health workers in all Counties, on the guidelines and protocols for handling and burial of a Coronavirus victim.
This is to ensure that an incident such as Oyugi’s does not happen again, and also to address the stigma associated with coming into contact with or having a family member die from Coronavirus.