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13.10.2008 Religion

MOH asked to be flexible with Muslim corpses


Alhaji Yakubu Issahaku, Upper West Regional Chief Imam has appealed to the Ministry of Health to be flexible with its policy of depositing Muslim corpses in the mortuary before their release for burial.

He said the policy was against Islamic custom and practices, and should therefore be relaxed to allow Muslims to collect their dead bodies, without necessarily going through the cumbersome procedures that go with releasing bodies from the mortuary for burial.

Alhaji Issahaku who made the appeal in a statement at Wa, also appealed to the government to provide Muslims in the region with a Senior High School for girls.

A number of Muslims interviewed by the Ghana News Agency at Wa said some aged Muslim patients were refusing to go to hospital for treatment because of the fear that when they died their bodies would be deposited at the morgue.

However, Dr Jacob Abebrese, Medical Director of the Wa Hospital has stated that the Coroner's Act demands that all dead human bodies have to be sent to the mortuary and investigation carried out to find the cause of death before being released for burial.

He said death due to both natural and unnatural causes like accidents and suspected cases of poisoning must be verified, and that could be done only if the bodies are in the mortuaries.

“It is not psychologically prudent to leave such dead bodies lying side by side with patients.

“We have no physical interest or special benefit to keep the dead bodies of Muslims.

“We are bound by the Law to do that and the law of the land supersedes all religious sentiments,” Dr Abebrese said.