Govt issues guidelines to mortuaries on dealing with infectious diseases

Kingston, Jamaica — The Government has issued guidelines to operators of funeral establishments and mortuaries geared at preventing the transmission of infectious diseases as it cautions members of the public to cease spreading misinformation on Ebola.

The guidelines, contained in a booklet, were developed through consultations with stakeholders in the industry and seek to formalize operational procedures, based on established standards and universal precautions for managing mortuary operations in hospitals and private mortuaries.

“We want to ensure that the accepted standards are being utilized to prevent any kind of transmission of infections, and the purpose of the guidelines is to ensure that all operators are aware of the protocols as well as the advice that should be given to family members and others involved in burials, to reduce their exposure to infectious diseases,” said Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, at Tuesday’s handing over at his downtown Kingston offices.

“Be very careful about the information that (people put) out, and the rumours that are continuously being spread about Ebola in Jamaica. It is not good for the response efforts, and we cannot afford for the important information to be lost in the noise created by unsubstantiated rumours,” he added.

Ferguson said that the Ministry is committed to providing timely information on Ebola, as Government takes the threat seriously.

“These guidelines are also a part of the holistic systems that we are putting in place to respond to any threat of Ebola. I urge you to take this matter very seriously, follow the requirements, and ensure that you and your staff are fully protected,” he urged.

He informed that Cabinet has approved the drafting of legislation to govern the operation of funeral establishments, and urged stakeholders to actively participate in upcoming public consultations.

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