It is sad when relatives have to exhume a dead one whose body may have been kept at the mortuary when they are unaware that he/she died in some accident incident. As Uganda gets to celebrate 50 years of Independence, can the concerned authorities more so KCCA start an arrangement where the dead due to accidents where relatives may not know are publicized on say CBS personal announcements and have the bill collected by relatives instead of having to exhume bodies.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
The entrance of KCCA mortuary with a sign post showing that it has been closed for repairs. Staff from this mortuary have relocated to Mulago hospital. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE
By Stephen Otage
Posted Tuesday, October 2 2012 at 01:00
The Mulago hospital executive director says relatives of the dead are free to take away their remains and that people are cheated by those who ask for payment.
Mulago Hospital has said it does not operate on a policy requiring relatives of the dead to pay for mortuary services meaning that a highly organised racket has turned a national mortuary into a private business.
The development follows an investigation commissioned by this newspaper in which it was discovered that the public is losing money to a group of people at the mortuary who hold onto bodies under the guise of conducting autopsies or post mortems yet both processes are supposed to be conducted on request by the relatives.
According to Dr Banterana Byarugaba, the hospital executive director, relatives of the dead are free to take away their remains immediately after death but because they are ignorant, the racket takes advantage of the situation.
“Previously we were charging Shs50,000 for embalming which is optional, but recently we were reviewing the figure thinking we should even scrap it. Why charge the grieving relatives?” He told this newspaper.
It has emerged that relatives of the dead have to part with between Shs80,000 and Shs250,000 depending on the services which range from dressing up the bodies, bathing them, applying backcloth and other services which are not within the mandate of the hospital.
Mr Baterana attributes the practice to staff from the closed KCCA mortuary.
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