Former ‘mortuary woman’ details sorry state of mortuary workers in Ghana

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A 64-year old retired mortician Deda Esi, has broken the myth that seems to suggest that morticians or what is popularly known as “mortuary men” are one of the well paid health professionals in the country, saying there is nothing to write home about the myth-shrouded profession.

She said due to the laborious and risky nature of the myth-shrouded profession they should be one of the well paid professionals in the country.

But the 64-year old Madam Esi Said the the contrary is the truth with the cold profession as morticians have been living with poverty and its associated undignified living standards.

She lamented the low salaries that morticians live on and even now, as a retiree she receive as little as GHC400 to survive on as pension.

Madam Esi recounted how she landed into the mortuary profession, saying she decided to be a mortician when her husband died leaving her with four children with no help to fend for them.

She however acknowledged that she is a brave woman as one has to be very brave to be a mortician to care for the remains of the dead.

Asked how risky and hazardous their profession is especially in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said they wouldn’t know who has the virus or not as they have no way of protecting themselves against such eventualities as they are still using the old apparatus without any change.

She lamented that even if the dead person had HIV or COVID-19 they have no way of knowing hence will treat each corpse the same.

Madam Esi thus called on the government to divert its attention and resources to augment the sanctity of the salient profession.

She said this in an interview with Yaa Titi Okrah on the Pae Muka program on Onua FM, Tuesday, August 10.

Madam Esi was speaking on the back of the danger morticians face in their line of work, especially in this era of COVID-19.

“As we are, the salary is insufficient, not good at all so I’m pleading to the government to increase the salaries of practicing morticians and that of retirees as they have families to take care of”, she lamented.

She added that “people say I’m very brave for doing mortuary work until retirement. Some also say we must be well paid that is why we do what we do but I tell them there is nothing in it. We are penniless, it’s only God that’s why we are surviving. I beg the government to come to our aid”.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah||Ghana