42 Corpses claimed for burial
A total of 42 corpses which were in the morgue of the St Dominic Hospital at Akwatia in the Eastern Region were retrieved by the family members for burial on September 7, this year.
The collection of the bodies came after the lifting of a three-week ban on funerals and noise making by the traditional rulers of Akwatia.
The ban was part of the rites observed ahead of the annual Ohum festival.
The St Dominic Hospital serves Akwatia and 20 adjoining communities. It is also a referral point for patients from hospitals in Tema, Koforidua, Accra and other communities in the Eastern Region.
When The Mirror visited Akwatia last Friday, it found out that after the ban had been lifted, a huge number of family members thronged the St Dominic Hospital morgue to collect their corpses.
The huge number of ambulances and other vehicles which were brought to the hospital to convey the bodies caused heavy vehicular traffic along the road in front of the hospital and the morgue.
These vehicles had to park 200 metres away from the hospital because access to the morgue had been blocked.
Some family members told The Mirror that they had gone to the facility to collect the bodies of their dead relatives but had difficulty in parking their ambulances.
Mr Kwame Ansong, who was at the facility to collect the mortal remains of a relative, also expressed the frustration family members went through before retrieving bodies of their departed relatives.
Morgue attendants showed a list of 42 bodies that had been released to their family members.
‘It has always been the normal feature whenever the ban on funerals, burials and noise making ends’, Mr John Amoako, a mortuary attendant said.
Seeking further clarification, The Mirror contacted the Administrator of the hospital, Mr Daniel A. Bempong, who said on the average, between 15 and 20 bodies were collected by family members in a week and 42 a month. He, therefore, described the number of bodies collected for burial by family members during the period as ‘normal’.
According to him, it had been the practice over the years that as soon as the ban was lifted, many families rushed to the morgue to collect the bodies of their dead relatives so as not to incur extra cost by keeping the corpse in the morgue.
‘So you will find the number of bodies released around this time after the lifting of the ban increases’, he said.
He explained that ‘when the ban is lifted, the hospital does not compel anybody to come for the body of their dead relative; it is up to the family to take a decision to either leave their dead ones in the morgue or come for them for burial.’
When The Mirror got in touch with the Chief of Akwatia, Osabarima Kofi Boateng III, he acknowledged that there was a ban on noise making, funerals and burials but stopped short of giving further details.
From Nana Konadu Agyeman, Akwatia
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