A notice to identify and collect the remains of unidentified and unclaimed bodies has been directed to the members of the public by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS). These bodies have been kept and preserved in different city morgues throughout the county.
Through a notice in the local dailies members of the public have been given a period of seven days for the process which will start from November 17, 2020, and ran up to November 24, 2020. After this, NMS shall seek authority and follow the necessary steps to dispose of the remaining unclaimed bodies.
One hundred sixty-six of the unclaimed bodies lies at city mortuary while nine are at Mbagathi funeral home and 13 are at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital.
NMS Health Secretary Josephine Kibaru stated that the bodies have been in the mortuaries from March this year. As a result, congestion in the morgues has been growing, and some of the facilities cannot even keep such a significant number of bodies at once.
For instance, Nairobi City Mortuary can only keep 160 bodies at a go, with approximately 18 bodies coming in daily. The morgue has limited resource to handle the dead, and is forced to hold more than the above numbers; the facility struggles financially.
Cause of death
Many of the bodies are classified as John, or Jane Does which means that they are unidentified, while others have their name and identification numbers noted. The cause of their deaths ranges from accidents to drowning, natural causes, murder, suicide and mob justice.
This is not the first time in this year that NMS has called out for this identification process. This shows that many people die without their relatives or next of kin, knowing as they might be residing in different parts of the country.
NMS had issued such a notice previously in March this year, requesting the public to identify and pick 185 bodies that had overstayed in morgues across the city.
In case bodies are not collected, the law states that the respective authority should find means to bury the corpses in public cemeteries and per the local authority’s guidelines.