Uganda will by 2021 have a mortuary facility to absorb close 200 bodies, thanks to the Uganda Police partnership with the Chinese firm Tip Top Investment Limited.
Works have commenced on the 48-million-dollar ultra-modern facility that will be built on a 2.96 acre piece of land on Katalima road in Kampala. The facility is expected to be completed in 32 months.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Dr. Moses Byaruhanga, the head of Uganda Police's Health Services Directorate, says the construction of the regional forensic referral Centre will boost the mortuary services in the country.
The Uganda Police Force has been using the City Mortuary near Mulago Hospital which was built in late 1950s by the colonial government with capacity to handle 36 bodies.
Dr. Byaruhanga, however, says that the facility has been stressed over time and that because of pressure of offloading the bodies, police has not had capacity to keep bodies for more than a week as a result of high turn over.
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He says on average, the city mortuary receives between 20 and 30 bodies daily. He notes that while the capacity is 36 bodies for the city mortuary, they cannot keep the body for more than three days.
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Constructed in 1962, the Mulago Hospital Mortuary in the Anatomy department has a full capacity of 12 bodies. This means both the city mortuary and the one at Mulago hospital may not be enough to handle the bodies that are brought in daily.
Mortuaries are also used as dumping and storage centres for corpses that are picked from the streets by police and corpses that are unclaimed by relatives. It is at this point that a forensic pathologist or medical examiner issues a death certificate.
Dr. Byaruhanga says that once police has its own pathology unit and mortuary, tests will be done in time without inconveniences.
He hinted at the 2012 dramatic arrest of Dr Chris Baryomunsi and Sylvester Onzivua, a senior pathologist hired by Parliament and the late MP Cerinah Nebanda's family to carry out an independent investigation into the legislator's mysterious death. The duo was accused of conniving to “steal” body samples of Nebanda from the mortuary of Mulago Referral Hospital.
Dr. Byaruhanga says with such an independent facility, such scenarios would not emerge since the management would be one contrary to the one currently at the City Mortuary which has several stakeholders.