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General News Sun, 10 Nov 2002

Seventy unclaimed bodies lying at Police Hosp

The Police Hospital in Accra currently has 70 unclaimed dead bodies in its mortuary. The hospital now takes about 350 dead bodies every month although it was built to take only 36 bodies. About 200 bodies are taken for burial within the same period.

A survey conducted by The Spectator during the week in three hospitals in Accra indicates that a total of 13,488 dead bodies are deposited at the three major hospitals in Accra every year. The hospitals are Police, Korle-Bu, and the Trust (SSNIT Hospital). Korle-Bu tops the list with 583 dead bodies deposited at its mortuary every month while between 450 and 550 bodies are removed for burial within the same month.

In the past three years, between an average of about 7000 and 9000 dead bodies were deposited at the Korle-Bu mortuary. The Police Hospital administrator, D.S.P. Awini said the unidentified bodies are buried every three weeks and this is done only after a publication has been made in the media.

A source at the Pathology Department, Korle-Bu, on Monday said between 15 and 20 lunatics and accident victims are deposited at the mortuary every month. Most of these bodies are never identified by their relations nor the police who deposit them there.

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One such unidentified body, a male Indian national has been in the morgue at Korle-Bu for the past one year. The Indian, according to the source, was believed to have been working with a garment factory in Accra until his death a year ago. Until the Indian’s case, the body of a Ga Chief was kept at the Korle-Bu morgue for three years due to a protracted litigation. The body was released recently for burial.

Another body of a native of Aplaku who died through gun shot wounds was also kept in the morgue for three and a half years and had his body released only recently. At the Trust Hospital, F. Bankas, the hospital secretary, said the hospital morgue has a capacity for only six bodies.

A greater percentage of those in all the mortuaries are between the ages of 30 and 45 years as compared to those above 70 years. During the survey it was realised that a lot of still born babies were in the morgue as their mothers would not go for them for burial.

Litigation among traditional families over who has the right to bury a deceased chief and elaborate preparations for the funeral of a deceased relative were found to be some of the causes of the delay in removing dead bodies from the morgue.

Source: The Spectator
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