Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital launches search for relatives of deceased persons in bid to decongest mortuary

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 1 Mar, 2023 20:59 | 2 mins read
Bodies pile up in Meru as mortuaries struggle to dispose unclaimed corpses
Refrigerators in a mortuary. PHOTO/Courtesy

Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital is seeking out relatives of people whose bodies have been lying at its mortuary for about three months leading to congestion.

The hospital has now deployed social workers to search for relatives of the deceased in an effort to decongest the mortuary.

All County hospital mortuaries in Meru are full beyond capacity following a delay by the courts to grant disposal orders since November last year.

The hospital’s mortuary, with a capacity of 60 bodies, currently has more than 320 bodies.

The hospital is now relying on Miathene Level Four hospital, whose capacity is 15 bodies, to ease further congestion.

Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital acting CEO Gacheri Kathiiri said social workers had been deployed across the county to look for bereaved families.

She said once the families are identified, they are advised to pick the bodies or give consent for disposal.

“Our social workers have been dispatched in the field to trace the families of the departed ones. They have been able to identify some and we hope the situation will ease,” she said.

Hospital's management

The hospital CEO noted that most of the families reached by social workers were not aware that their kin had died.

She said the police were also supporting the exercise by taking fingerprints to identify the deceased.

Dr Gacheri said due to the crisis, the hospital was working on a mechanism that will have relatives of the deceased identified when bodies are delivered to the mortuary.

“We are now exploring how we can have the details of bodies either at the casualty or mortuary so that we do not end up with many unclaimed bodies.

"The courts are also keen on establishing whether the hospital put effort in identifying the relatives before disposal,” the acting CEO said.

She appealed to families of the deceased to pick bodies of their relatives and give them a decent send off.

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