UNCOLLECTED BODIES OVERWHELM MORTUARIES
Authorities here have bemoaned the rising number of uncollected bodies at mortuaries, which already have a limited carrying capacity.
The situation has also been worsened by the shortage of mortuary facilities at most Government hospitals in the province, where some of the refrigeration systems have broken down.
Chegutu District Hospital, which had the highest number of uncollected bodies, together with Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, recently conducted paupers’ burials for 12 uncollected bodies.
In an interview, provincial health services administrator Mr Godwin Tauya said paupers’ burials are conducted when bodies have spent up to 21 days in the mortuary.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care also conduct the paupers’ burials in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare.
“There are 19 bodies that are awaiting paupers’ burial after those 12 at Chegutu Hospital were buried on April 17,” said Dr Tauya. “The unclaimed bodies will be due for burial if they exceed 21 days without anybody coming to claim them or identify them.
“Police have to find relatives first before they process papers for burials. Approval of burial is granted by Social Welfare which does the paperwork and also contracts people who will do the burials with the help of mortuary attendees.”
Mr Tauya said Chinhoyi has a number of unclaimed bodies and most are infants. “Chinhoyi has a number of unclaimed bodies, most of them of small children,” he said. “The main causes are stillbirths where mothers do not come back to claim their babies for burial.
“Also those babies which would have been taken for burial will be brought back after being picked up at Hunyani River where they will have been dumped.”
Dr Tauya bemoaned the limited carrying capacities of mortuaries across the province.
“These are Karoi with carrying capacity of nine bodies, Banket which has two facilities and Kadoma which also has two mortuaries,” he said.
“Chinhoyi carries 24 bodies and has 12 unclaimed bodies, while Kutama carries 12 bodies, Kariba (three) while Chegutu has two units of which one is not functioning and has a carrying capacity of six bodies.”
The state of mortuaries across the country has raised a lot of concern, with most of them have broken down while efforts to repair them have been affected by foreign currency shortages.