COVID-19 Frontline Morgue Attendant: I Take Drugs to Stay Sane

April 20, 2021

A mortuary attendant at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH) spoke to about his experience since the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

As a mortuary attendant at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH), the largest health facility in the region, I have become immune to lifeless bodies.

Every day, we receive at least one body of a person who has succumbed to Covid-19. Sometimes I use drugs to remain sane as this disease is a huge burden.

I wish people visited public cemeteries to see evidence of the bodies we have buried.

The only thing I suffer from is anxiety. It is not that I am not used to bodies, but the influx is overwhelming.

Last year was worse in Mombasa, due to a spike in coronavirus deaths. I remember religious leaders and doctors raising the alarm on a looming shortage of burial spaces in public cemeteries.

But things changed when the county launched a massive campaign to sensitise residents on the importance of adhering to health protocols.

I wish people understood the gravity of this disease.

We should debunk the myth that Covid-19 is not real. Many Kenyans have disregarded the health protocols. Walk around and you will see people living as if there is no pandemic.

I wish we allowed media to come and film what happens within the morgues. People would appreciate life and live accordingly.

As a mortuary attendant, I always wear my protective gear. I am a frontline worker. I strictly adhere to the protocols. I must protect my wife, children and neighbours.

Whenever I go home, I must take a shower before engaging my family. Sometimes when I think I am a risk to them, I lock myself in.

But Kenyans, people are dying. You can visit the morgues to count the bodies or the cemeteries and see loved ones burying their kin, who have succumbed to this virus.

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