Illegal exhumation of bodies: Pramso sitting on time bomb – Pathologist warns

A senior Pathologist at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Dr. Paul Poku Sampene Ossei has predicted a major outbreak of respiratory diseases is likely to consume the Pramso community in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti region.

Dr. Sam Pampane’s prediction follows an illegal exhumation of bodies currently ongoing at Pramso community cemetery for a road construction project without observing exhumation scientific protocols.

Over 120 corpses have been exhumed and reburied by their families to facilitate road construction projects in the Bosometwe district.

This follows a request by the Kumasi-based Contractor constructing Kumasi-Atonsu lake road, Kofi Job construction, for about 10 metres of the cemetery land to be affected by the road project.

However, not a single safety protocol prescribed by medics for exhumation exercise was adopted by Nana Gyanpon-Tuah II, Chief of Pramso who ordered the exercise, exposing the Pramso community to respiratory and other diseases as a result of the exhumation exercise.

According to medics before a body could be exhumed, it requires approval from the Interior Ministry, Ghana Health Service (GHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These agencies have a responsibility to ensure the exercise is conducted in the best interest of the community in which the exercise is being conducted to avoid exposing the community to any form of disease outbreak.

A visit to the Pramso community by GHOne News saw the bodies being exhumed by two men with no expertise and without any regulatory agency supervision.

A senior Pathologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) who doubles as Head of the Pathology Department at KNUST, Dr. Paul Poku Sampene Ossei who was shocked at the development in the area told GHone News the entire Pramso community is sitting on a timed bomb waiting to explode.

He explained that not a single exhumation protocol was followed in the exercise which is currently ongoing unfortunately in a rainy season during daytime when heavy wind is also effective.

“There’s a reason why you can’t conduct a body exhumation exercise without authorization from EPA, Ghana Health Service, and the Interior Ministry, and the Attorney General because the risk involved in conducting an exhumation exercise is huge and appropriate steps need to be followed carefully’’.

He stressed, “it’s illegal to conduct exhumation during the daytime because flies must not step on the body. The grave must also be disinfected before the body is removed from the grave. The bones in the grave when removed must be arranged properly for future DNA purposes when the need arises. The grave must be covered as soon as the exercise is completed before another grave is opened. Therefore, the exercise being carried there is illegal and amounts to grave looting because precious ornaments used to bury those there could be stolen if none of the family members is there at the time of the exercise’’.

Dr. Sampene said that “it takes about 80 years for a body to decompose, he explained the body turns to mod in the grave therefore when open, air blows the mod easily. Any person who inhales the mod gets a serious respiratory infection among others which could cause death’’.

Therefore,” it is a criminal offense for a grave to be open without it being covered. Because dogs and vultures can feed there which creates other problems for communities in which these animals live” he lamented.

Dr Sampane is, therefore, urging government agencies responsible for health and the environment to quickly ensure the Pramso community members’ health is prioritized to avoid any disaster.


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