Trade Booms Around Koforidua Cemeteries; Health Official Warns Of Danger [PHOTO]

A cemetery is basically a defined area where the remains of dead people are buried or interred. Cemeteries come in different shapes and designs depending on the authorities who are in charge of their maintenance. In the African culture it is believed that the dead is embarking on another journey, therefore ceremonies or rites of passages are performed to enable the person to enter the next world without any difficulties or inhibition. It is also believed that, the dead needs peace hence always the cliché "Rest in peace". However can the dead be said to be resting in peace? At the Koforidua cemetery one can say it’s no, particularly on Saturdays. Traders on Saturdays take advantage of mourners who have come to the cemetery to transact business to sell all kinds of items especially, boiled eggs, "Pito", a locally - made alcoholic beverage, drinks, sachet water, among others. Adisa Musah (not real name), told the Daily Graphic that "we come here only on Saturdays since this is the only day people bury their loved ones in Koforidua". According to her they make a lot of money depending on the number of people being buried on that particular Saturday. "People patronise our products especially the alcoholic drinks, since the place is isolated and drinking bars are far from the cemetery", she said. A pito seller, Ajara, said patronage of pito at the cemetery has always been high since most people from far and near who come to the cemetery drink it to "quench their thirst". "I don't see anything wrong with this since we have been selling for a long time without any trouble. The mourners at times commend our initiative since only few people would dare to sell in cemeteries. We do not fear since close by 3pm because at that time most families would have buried their dead relatives", said Ajara confidently. A grave digger and an employee of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly, Cudjoe, said the sellers have always comported themselves and have shown respect to both mourners and workers at the cemetery. Some mourners who had travelled from Accra and Sekondi -Takoradi and were patronising some of the alcoholic drinks were not perturbed since according to them it was normal. However some disagreed and warned them of the consequences related to such behaviour. Kofi Assoun from Takoradi was seen gulping down pito despite protestations from some relatives and could only jokingly say that "all die be die", in Fante. Health implications According to Dr. Cynthia Kwakye- Maclean, the deputy director in charge of public health, Eastern Region, the situation is very serious and indicated that the regional public health directorate would liaise with the New Juaben Municipal Assembly to put a stop to the practice. She explained that, people who were dead and buried, died of various causes including infectious and contagious ones and therefore the was the likelihood that bacteria and micro-organisms would be released into the air and this could cause serious pollution. Also the activities of grave looters exposed people to all kinds of diseases adding that "micro-organisms are in the ground because cemeteries are full of micros". Dr. Kwakye - Maclean was of the view that the activities of these traders must be stopped while people are sensitised not to patronise such items in the cemeteries.