11 April 2013

Cameroon: Public Mortuaries - Solution to Abandoned Corpses

Since 2010, the Director of Yaounde Jamot Hospital, Dr Yves Mathieu Zoa Nanga has been on various air waves in the country calling on certain families and the population in general to collect some corpses abandoned at the Hospital. From 2010 to February 26, 2013 when the last announcement was sent at the National Radio Station, the director of Jamot Hospital says nothing has changed. Dr Zoa's decision to contact the municipality around the hospital did not also solve the problem. The mayor at each time said he neither had space nor means to bury the abandoned corpses. The recent decision by the Minister of Public Health on the modalities to manage abandoned corpses in public hospital mortuaries comes like relief to Dr Zoa Nanga who says the situation was serious because no mechanism existed for a solution.

Giving the gravity of the problems abandoned corpses created in various mortuaries in the country; Dr Zoa says the decision was immediately pasted at the Jamot Hospital mortuary door for everybody to know that if he or she does not come for his corpse, 60 days after depositing it, the corpse will be handed to a commission headed by the Senior Divisional Officer of Mfoundi which will proceed burial at a public cemetery according to the environmental norms required.

With the current 28 abandoned corpses at the Jamot Hospital mortuary, Dr Zoa has already written to the President of the Commission charged with burying abandoned corpses in Yaounde. While explaining that the corpses have already spent over 60 days in the mortuary, Dr Zoa says a radio announcement will still be made giving families 10 more days to come for their corpses. Thereafter, the commission will go ahead with the decision for the corpses to be buried after identifying the burial site.

Just like Dr Zoa, the Deputy Director General of the Yaounde Gyneco-Obstetric and Paediatric Hospital, Dr Charles Nsom Mba says the decision has come to put an end to the attitudes of certain families who have turned mortuaries to burial grounds. Dr Nsom says although most of the abandoned corpses are usually brought in by the forces of law and order, there are those brought in by family members who never return to remove them. The current decision by the Minister of Public Health, according to Dr Nsom has come to oblige family members to respect their part of the deal when bringing a corpse to the mortuary.

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