Unclaimed bodies pile up at UTH

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SIMON MUNTEMBA writes

A TOTAL number of 30 unclaimed and unknown bodies are jam-packed at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) mortuary, the public relations officer Natalie Mashikolo has disclosed.

Ms Mashikolo told The Sun in an exclusive interview yesterday that out of the 30 unclaimed bodies, 25 were brought in dead by the Police from different places while 5 were those who died from UTH wards but were unknown and unclaimed.

The UTH public relations officer explained that the 30 unclaimed bodies were recorded from between December 2018 and January 2019.

“There are 30 unclaimed and unidentified bodies laying in the UTH mortuary. 25 were brought in dead from different Police stations dotted across Lusaka, while 5 died from UTH wards which are unknown and unclaimed. However, let me emphasise that these 25 were just picked up by the police and they did not die from the police cells,” Ms Mashikolo said.

She said the number could have increased as the records were for December 12, 20 18 to January 3, 2019.

Ms Mashikolo however, appealed to members of the general public to take keen interest in checking for their missing or deceased relatives at the country’s biggest health institution.

She explained that the bodies are kept in the mortuary for three months without claim before they were handed over to the council for burial.

“The notice period is 21 days, after which the local authority (Lusaka City Council- LCC) who provide the burial ground will bury them as a way to decongest the UTH mortuary.

“They (LCC) will put a notice or advertise in newspapers and if no one comes forth, they will end up burying,” she said.

She has also called on Zambians to show concern for one another, stating that people should be prompted to trace their relatives if they do not show up in their homes beyond 24 hours without proper cause.

Ms Mashikolo said every missing person should be reported to the police and a check at the Casualty wing, the admissions ward and the Mortuary in hospitals should be made to ensure the whereabouts of relatives is known.

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