Nakuru County to dispose 84 unclaimed bodies

Nakuru Level Five hospital in Nakuru. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard].

Nakuru County's two major morgues are facing a crisis over the high number of unclaimed bodies causing congestion at the facilities.

The county government has announced that it will dispose of at least 84 bodies that have been lying in the mortuaries in the next three weeks in case they will not have been claimed.

Speaking to The Standard, County Director for Public Health Elizabeth Kiptoo said that the bodies have been lying at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital (PGH) morgue and Kwa Jack morgue for almost one year.

"We have a total of 84 unclaimed bodies lying at the two mortuaries, 34 of them are at the PGH morgue and 50 others at Kwa Jack morgue," said Ms Kiptoo.

According to the notice issued by the county government, among the 50 bodies lying at the Kwa Jack mortuary, 37 of them are infants while 13 are adults brought in between June 2023 and April 2024.

The infants have been marked as unknown and were taken to the morgues in police vehicles from scenes of accidents while others were stillbirths at various public and private health centers.

Some of the contact details given in the records have been switched off cutting off communication between them and the county.

Others were taken to the mortuaries by good Samaritans who lack information about the deceased persons that may aid in linking them with their families for a decent burial.

"Majority of these bodies were brought from scenes of accidents. Some, including the adults, are unknown. We have made efforts to reach out to the people who brought them but we have not succeeded," said Ms Kiptoo.

The Director said that failure to collect the bodies has led to congestion of the two mortuaries, which serve key facilities around the region.

"The bodies have been preserved but due to overstaying, they are in the state of decomposition. We have notified the county commissioner to assist us trace the families," she said.

Ms Kiptoo explained that preserving the bodies for such a long period was costly to the county and that they will now follow the law in disposing of the bodies.

"The two mortuaries are open for persons who may wish to identify the bodies. The law allows us to dispose of unclaimed bodies after issuing a 21-day notice,” said Kiptoo.

She added that if they remain unclaimed at the expiry of the period, the county government will bury them at the Nakuru South Cemetery in line with the Public Health Act. 

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