Kenya: Nakuru County to Revamp Mortuaries Across the Region

13 January 2020

Mortuaries in public hospitals in Nakuru County will be refurbished in a move aimed at enhancing service delivery.

For a long time, most of the mortuaries have been grappling with congestion.

This is now set to be a thing of the past after the county government embarked on refurbishing the mortuaries and building new ones.

The county government is using part of the Sh6.6 billion that was allocated the Health department in the current financial year to refurbish the mortuaries.

This was revealed by the County Health Chief Officer Samuel King'ori.

PRESERVATION

"Mortuaries in various hospitals in the county have for long been neglected. But they are set to get a major facelift. We want to improve body preservation services and ensure the public gets the best services," Dr King'ori told the Nation in an interview.

Among the key hospitals targeted in the planned refurbishment include Nakuru Level Five Hospital, Molo Sub-County Hospital, the Naivasha Sub-County Hospital and Elburgon Hospital.

At the Molo Hospital mortuary, which mostly takes bodies received from the notorious Sobea-Salgaa-Sachangwan-Mau Summit-Makutano accident black spot along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway, limited space for storing bodies affects service delivery.

BODIES ON THE FLOOR

Initially, lack of space forced the hospital to keep extra bodies on the floor until families collected them.

The referral Nakuru Level Five Hospital, which serves patients from more than five counties including Nakuru, Kericho, Baringo, Nyandarua, Samburu and Narok will also have its mortuary expanded.

The Hospital has been depending on the Nakuru County Mortuary, popularly known as Kwa Jack, which was established in 1960s.

Kwa Jack currently has a capacity of about 60 bodies.

UNCLAIMED BODIES

According to the hospital's Medical Superintendent Joseph Mburu, the facility with a capacity of at least 77 bodies has been reeling under congestion due to unclaimed bodies. It has been disposing an average of at least 25 unclaimed bodies after every six months.

Dr Mburu admitted that the unclaimed bodies have been a major challenge for the mortuary.

"This is a problem which we have to deal with at the facility. Some families bring their patients to the hospital only to abandon their bodies when they die and we are forced to preserve them just like the rest for about six months before disposing them off," Dr Mburu told the Nation.

According to Dr King'ori, the planned improvement by the county government will include the establishment of modern mortuaries, expansion of the existing ones and furnishing them with cold rooms and other necessary equipment.

EQUIPMENT

It will also involve training of mortuary attendants, equipping them with necessary gear including uniforms and protective clothing to enhance service delivery.

Already, a Sh35 million modern mortuary with a capacity to hold 114 bodies is being built at the Naivasha Sub-County Hospital.

Currently, the mortuary has a capacity to hold less than 50 bodies despite serving people from the populous Naivasha Sub-County and its environs.

The mortuary, which is half complete, will have a modern embalmment unit, a crematorium, classrooms and a human anatomy laboratory that can handle 114 bodies.

It will also have a refrigeration system to cater for at least 66 bodies while the rest will be embalmed.

ACCIDENTS

According to the County Health Executive Gichuki Kariuki, congestion at the mortuary has been complicated by frequent accidents along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

"Naivasha Sub-County Hospital serves the populous sub-county and neighbouring areas. The modern mortuary will also cater for the high number of accident victims along the busy highway," said Dr Kariuki.

Already, the Naivasha Sub-County Hospital is undergoing a Sh300 million facelift.

Nakuru's growing population has seen the mortuaries overstretched and the situation is complicated by the many unclaimed bodies.

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