The International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics (ICHF) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, is holding a webinar on ‘Management of the Dead – Ensuring their Protection and Dignity in the COVID-19 Era’ on June 18, 2020 for Gujarat-based non-forensic healthcare and frontline workers who are involved in managing the dead during the ongoing pandemic.

The participants – from government hospitals of various districts in the state – will receive verified reliable information, resources and tools on how to manage dead bodies in a dignified manner while protecting the health and well-being of frontline workers, families, and affected communities in accordance with international best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate an effective response to fatalities due to COVID-19.

Since the onset of the pandemic, numerous guidelines, protocols, and policies have been published and disseminated to safely manage the dead confirmed or believed to have died because of the coronavirus disease – both at the national and international levels. However, many healthcare and death care workers are still struggling to implement the procedures and precautionary measures put in place. This could be a result of lack of knowledge, misinterpretation of the guidelines, or the dissemination of misinformation and may also lead to stigmatisation of frontline workers dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

The speakers will discuss national and international guidelines, policies, protocols for proper handling, including storage and disposal of bodies, logistics, and proper use of PPE and body bags. The resource persons will also throw light on interaction with families, communities, and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic regulations as well as protecting the physical and mental well-being of frontline workers.

As the unprecedented pandemic continues to spread rapidly, what we see unfolding today is not only a public health emergency, but also a humanitarian crisis. It has also been termed as an ‘infodemic’ in many parts of the world due to the circulation of widespread misinformation owing to challenges of finding reliable and credible sources. Through such webinars, the ICHF aims to enable frontline workers overcome these challenges. A joint initiative of the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the ICHF is focused to raise awareness on humanitarian forensic action.

More on the ICRC’s forensic response on COVID-19:

COVID-19: Hinduism and Management of the Dead

COVID-19: ICRC Guidance for Dignified Management of the Dead