7 December 2017

Uganda: Soroti Hospital Mortuary Closes

Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has closed its mortuary services following a breakdown of its refrigeration system.

According to the hospital administration, the four-capacity refrigerator became faulty about two months ago and Shs4.6m is needed to have it fixed.

Currently, residents who seek autopsy and preservation of bodies have to move 100km to either Lira or Mbale hospitals.

Some are now opting for quick burials for their deceased relatives as they cannot meet the costs of transportation and treatment involved.

"It wasn't our wish to have the late buried in such a quick way but we had no cheap option as the mortuary was down," Pastor Rogers Ekaju said, while referring to the renowned deputy Bishop for Soroti Baptist church, Moses Elebu, who died a fortnight ago.

He added: "We thought of having the body transferred to Lira but we were told that the mortuary was also overstretched with no guarantee of space."

On Tuesday, relatives who had their deceased temporarily pushed in the morgue were waiting to rush the remains of their bodies home for burial.

In an interview with Daily Monitor, the hospital director, Dr Francis Mulwanyi, confirmed the situation and appealed for government's quick intervention.

Dr Mulwanyi said the hospital is planning for a big refrigerator due to the high demand.

The senior hospital administrator, Mr Paul Ajuku, said there has been delays in procurement.

"You cannot use government resources the way you buy food for your family. Government has its own procedures as regards procurement and accountability. And these must be followed," Mr Ajuk said.

He revealed that the current morgue has two tables and can only accommodate four bodies.

According to Mr Ajuk, for autopsy services, the hospital charges Shs150,000 per body, which is credited to the hospital account.

He said the hospital which serves eight districts that constitute Teso sub-region, receives close to 1,000 patients weekly with several death registered.

Although the crisis has not affected them yet, the East Kyoga police spokesperson, Mr Michael Odongo said the services offered at the morgue are so crucial in the day to day activities of police.

Other cases

In March 2016 , the Pathology Department at Mbarara University of Science and Technology teaching hospital has closed the mortuary following the breakdown of the refrigeration system and asked the police to stop taking dead bodies there.

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