Members of Parliament have raised concerns over the manner in which the first Ugandan COVID-19 victim was buried. Yunis Chimatala on 22 July 2020 succumbed to the virus at Joy Hospice center in Mbale city, thereby raising a national alarm.
Chimatala was reportedly buried in a rash manner on Thursday, a day after her death, under tight security. Although reports indicate that she was buried as per the Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) procedures stated by the Health Ministry in Sisongfwa village, Mabyaale sub-county in Namisindwa district, MPs have called for further investigation in the matter.
MPs have raised a red flag on the burial process calling it a matter of national importance. On Tuesday 28 July, Grace Namukhula Watuwa, the Namisindwa Woman MP said the deceased was buried hurriedly and that the body was laid in a shallow grave. Dogs have since dug out the body and exposed it to daylight. She said the body is emitting a foul stench and the villagers are afraid to go near it to carry out the proper burial.
She added that the health ministry intervention has not been adequate in Namisindwa, with the whole district having only 4 temperature guns, no masks, or proper sanitizing equipment.
Abdulatif Sebagala, the Kawempe North MP questioned the Health Ministry interventions on the matter saying that there is supposed to be a professional team set aside to handle COVID-19 burials and prevent further spread of the disease.
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga called the incident very unfortunate, thereby directing the Ministry of Health to go back to Namisindwa and conduct proper burial of the deceased and equip the residents with masks, sanitizers, and temperature guns. However, none of the line ministers was in parliament when the speaker issued the directive.