FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) – Burial teams in Sierra Leone abandoned the bodies of Ebola victims in the capital after going on strike this week, though an official claimed Wednesday the situation had been resolved.
The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation reported that bodies of Ebola victims were being left in homes and on the streets of Freetown because of the strike by burial teams, who complained they had not been paid.
The bodies of Ebola victims are highly contagious.
Speaking on a radio breakfast program Wednesday, deputy health minister Madina Rahman said the strike had been resolved, though organisers could not immediately be reached to confirm it was over.
Rahman said the dispute centered on a one-week backlog for hazard pay that had been deposited in the bank but was not given to burial teams on time.
“The health ministry is going to investigate the delay,” Rahman said.
There are 600 workers in the burial teams, organised in groups of 12, health ministry spokesman Sidie Yahya Tunis said.
Tunis described the situation as “very embarrassing.” The government was already facing criticism this week over a shipping container filled with medical gear and mattresses that has been held up at the port for more than a month.