Mass burial for 254 stillborns at 37 Military Hospital

The 37 Military Hospital in Accra will hold a special mass burial of 254 unidentified and unclaimed corpses of stillborns which have been abandoned at the hospital mortuary for the past four years.

Interestingly, this comes at a time when the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi is facing public outrage for failing to account for a baby it claimed had been stillborn.

In an interview, the Public Relations Officer of the 37 Military Hospital, Madam Christine Atepor, explained that the mass burial was aimed at decongesting the mortuary, which is currendy filled to capacity.

“This facility is a very busy one because people die every day and, therefore, there is the need to decongest the mortuary for fresh bodies,” she said.

Madam Atepor disclosed that apart from the bodies of babies aged between one and 12 days there were also 27 unclaimed and unidentified adult bodies between the ages of 14 and 67 which would be added to the mass burial exercise.

Most of the bodies, especially those of the stillborns, were deposited at the morgue with the  understanding that the bereaved parents would organise themselves and come for them for burial.

However, the parents failed to show up, perhaps out of grief or because of their inability or refusal to setde outstanding hospital charges.

“As a hospital, we have a strong commitment to human rights. We are, therefore, appealing to all parents and family relations who had stillborn babies between 2010 and 2013 to come and identify the bodies and take them away for befitting burials, as their respective customs demand,” she stated.

Madam Atepor said almost all the bodies of babies had the names of one of the babies’ parents written on them to make it easier for them to be identified, while the adult bodies had their real names, ages and the dates on which they were received on them.

She stated that most of the deceased adults were victims of tragedies such as motor accidents which had been brought in by good Samaritans.

“When public-spirited persons bring in such dead bodies, we cannot tell them to take them back to where they had found them; we accept them at the morgue, with the hope that the relatives of the deceased will show up to identify them for burial,” she explained.

Madam Atepor appealed to the public, especially those who could not trace their loved ones but assume they might have travelled, to get to the 37 Military Hospital to go through the list to see if their relations were among the dead.

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