The Ministry of Health said 15 children have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020. Most of those who passed away had a range of co-morbidities, according to Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony.
“We continue to monitor and try to decipher what is causing the deaths. For some of those children that would have been hospitalised. We know for sure some of the comorbidities that they have had and the challenges, because some of them, the prognosis was poor with their underlying diseases and then they got Covid, so that complicated the problem,” Dr. Anthony said on Monday.
Over the last few days, four children were reported to have died of Covid. Dr Anthony said the ministry is currently investigating those deaths. “We would have seen the four deaths of children and this is something we will do some further investigation on, because of the four, three of the children arrived at the hospital, they were dead before arrival to the hospital.”
He explained, “Within the ministry, we have a small committee of doctors who are going to get those charts and review them more thoroughly and do some interviews with the family of these children, so hopefully that will give us a better understanding of what is happening.”
Meanwhile, the health minister has apologised to the family of a four-year-old child who died as a result of Covid-19 in Mabaruma, Region One. The case received public attention, last week when images of the child’s father lifting his body to the cemetery, circulated on social media.
Dr. Anthony said, “This is not the standard procedure … once the child or anybody is pronounced dead, they are in the mortuary, and then there is an official handover of the body to the family, in this case, that did happen.
He added, “There is a vehicle that operates between the Police and the ministry of health and so somebody ought to have assisted the family in getting the body to the cemetery or to the site of burial. There was some mix-up between the staff of the ministry and the Police, and therefore this did not happen in a timely manner. They didn’t get the vehicle in a timely manner and apparently, the family proceeded to bury the child.”
The minister said the mix-up is unfortunate and he has ordered that the Regional Health Officer conduct a thorough investigation so that corrective measures could be put in place.