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Research Articles

Management of the dead in disasters: knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices amongs a group of army soldiers in Sri Lanka

Authors:

U. G. G. Chaminda ,

Department of Health Services Southern Province, Galle, LK
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J. Warushahennadi

University of Ruhuna, LK
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Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Improper management of the dead in disasters can hinder the identification, leads to loss of important forensic evidence and affects the dignity of the dead. Army soldiers play a vital role in dead body management in disasters. Objective: To describe the knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices on management of the dead in disasters among a group of army soldiers in Galle district, Sri Lanka. Methods: This descriptive cross sectional study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire. Based on the percentage of correct responses, participants were classified into three groups denoting their overall knowledge using pre-determined cut-off values (>70% - “good”, <50% - “poor”, 50-70% - “moderate” level of knowledge). Results: The entire study population of 188 army soldiers (N=188) was included in this study. A majority (61.2%, n=115) had a moderate level and 32.4% (n=61) had a good level of overall knowledge. In particular, knowledge on wearing face masks by dead body recovery teams (8%) and spraying disinfectants to dead bodies (30.9%) was poor. Respectively 21.8% and 52.1% believed that funeral rites are not important and dead bodies of foreign nationals should be treated better than locals. A majority (59%) had reported that they had used gloves and boots in dead body recovery process. Conclusions: Even though a majority had either moderate or good level of overall knowledge, deficiencies of knowledge in certain aspects were evident. A majority had more favourable attitudes and there is a space for improvement in certain practices of dead body management.
How to Cite: Chaminda, U.G.G. and Warushahennadi, J., 2020. Management of the dead in disasters: knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices amongs a group of army soldiers in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 11(2), pp.9–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v11i2.7825
Published on 17 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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