Relatives given 21 days to collect unclaimed bodies - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Relatives given 21 days to collect unclaimed bodies


The Nakuru county government has issued a 21-day notice for collection of 57 unclaimed bodies at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital and the Nakuru Municipal mortuaries.

The county government says the unclaimed bodies are congesting the mortuaries.

At the Nakuru Level Five Hospital mortuary, the body of James Mbugua has been lying at the facility for more than three months.

The Nation established that Mbugua's family declined to collect the body for burial claiming it would bring a curse to relatives.

Mbugua, 85, died earlier this year, while undergoing treatment at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital.

According to the county Public Health Chief Officer Samuel King'ori, the county government has been incurring huge costs in preserving the uncollected bodies.

Mr King'ori said some of the bodies were collected from accident and crime scenes.

“The unclaimed bodies also include those of foetuses from pre-mature births. We appeal to families to collect the bodies before we bury them in a mass grave," said Mr King'ori.

"The large numbers of unclaimed bodies are as a result of members of the public shying away from identifying bodies of their loved ones in the mortuaries. The government has been paying huge electricity bills for their preservation,” he said.

Unclaimed bodies

In September 2015, the county buried 251 unclaimed bodies at a cost of Sh5 million and in March 2016, another 63 unclaimed bodies were buried. In 2017, 97 unclaimed bodies were interred at a mass grave at the South cemetery.

Mr King'ori also said the bodies congest the facilities.

The official said relatives have 21 days to collect the bodies.

Nakuru Level Five Hospital also serves  Kericho, Baringo, Nyandarua, Samburu and Narok counties.

The facility, with a capacity of at least 77 bodies, disposes of an average of 25 unclaimed bodies every six months.

“Some families bring their patients to the hospital only to abandon their bodies when they die, and we are forced to preserve them,'' said an official who sought anonymity.

 Nakuru currently faces the challenge of filled up cemeteries. Nakuru South, Nakuru North and Njoro cemeteries have been declared full.

Desperate families are sometimes forced to recycle graves, digging fresh ones on footpaths within the graveyards and along the perimeter fence, in a bid to accommodate fresh bodies.

Between 20-30 graves are re-opened each week on average to allow for fresh burials in Nakuru North and South cemeteries.

The county has been struggling to find suitable land for cemeteries for the last five years.

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