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500 Bodies Unclaimed from KCCA Mortuary Annually

The police usually have five pathologists conducting postmortems on more than 15 bodies brought into the KCCA mortuary, every day. Last year alone, Dr Byaruhanga said they conducted autopsies on 4,152 human bodies at KCCA mortuary which translates to each pathologist examining 75 to 90 bodies every month.
AIGP Moses Byaruhanga

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About 500 bodies go unclaimed at the Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA mortuary every year, according to lead police pathologist, Assistant Inspector General of Police – AIGP Dr Moses Byaruhanga.

The police usually have five pathologists conducting postmortems on more than 15 bodies brought into the KCCA mortuary, every day. Last year alone, Dr Byaruhanga said they conducted autopsies on 4,152 human bodies at KCCA mortuary which translates to each pathologist examining 75 to 90 bodies every month.

According to Dr Byaruhanga, the Uganda police force has18 pathologists split across the country. Only 12 of these are active. He explains that it is overwhelming for a single pathologist to examine 90 bodies a month, in comparison to countries like South Africa, where a pathologist examines only four bodies a week.

Dr Byaruhanga says that because of  such a huge number of bodies and the limited storage capacity at the KCCA mortuary,  they resolved that all bodies unclaimed within four days must be buried in city cemeteries.

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Dr Byaruhanga says some of the bodies are unclaimed due to lack of identification documents. This is mainly in deaths that result from drowning, road accidents or collapsed buildings. There are so many people who move around without identification documents. If they died in an accident or collapse dead, there is no way of identifying the person," he said.

But Dr Byaruhanga says it is almost impossible to refer to the databank at the National Identification Registration Authority – NIRA to identify bodies, because of the few pathologists who are always overwhelmed.

Besides, Dr Byaruhanga says it would be somehow possible if they had enough storage capacity of at least 200 bodies since crosschecking with NIRA would be taking some hours. But without increased body storage capacity and increased number of pathologists, Dr Byaruhanga insists more bodies will go unclaimed.

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NIRA spokesperson Gilbert Kadilo said it is upon police to request for the information for purposes of identifying unclaimed bodies and the authority would make it available at any time. Kadilo adds that the registration of person Act allows government agencies, departments and private entities such as Banks to access the information.

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Kadilo says they are also constrained in terms of human resource but hastens to add that they are developing their technology interfaces to connect with NIRA just like telecoms and banks so that such examinations are done via interfaces than using the physical human resource.

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