Burial workers in the Sierra Leonean city of Kenema have dumped bodies in public in protest at non-payment of allowances for handling Ebola victims.
The workers, who have gone on strike over the issue, left 15 bodies abandoned at the city’s main hospital today.
One of the bodies was reportedly left by the hospital manager’s office and two others by the hospital entrance.
Sierra Leone is one of the countries worst affected by this year’s Ebola outbreak, with more than 1,200 deaths. Burial worker at Kenema Burial workers are especially at risk of becoming infected.
Kenema is the third largest city in Sierra Leone and the biggest in the east, where the Ebola outbreak first emerged in the country.
The burial workers told a BBC reporter they had not been paid agreed extra risk allowances for October and November.
The bodies have now been taken away but the workers remain on strike.
There has been no immediate comment by the hospital’s management or the Sierra Leonean health ministry.
DANGER AFTER DEATH
The burial workers’ industrial action comes two weeks after health workers went on strike for similar reasons at a clinic near Bo - the only facility in southern Sierra Leone treating Ebola victims.
Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa this year, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.
People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.
Meanwhile, an Italian doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone arrived Tuesday in Rome, where he will receive specialist treatment, media reported.
The doctor, the first Italian to be infected with the disease, was flown into the military airport of Pratica di Mare, outside the capital.
The doctor, who reports say is a 50-year-old man, was transported in a specially sealed unit on board a military plane, TV pictures showed.
He will be hospitalised at the Lazzaro Spallanzani national institute for infectious diseases.
The Italian health ministry said he has not yet developed feverish symptoms and his general condition is good.
The doctor was working for the charity Emergency at a clinic for Ebola victims.(BBC and AFP)