The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has disposed of 119 unclaimed bodies to ease strain on city morgues. The bodies, which were predominantly male, were disposed of between March 17 and March 24.
NMS had issued a notice in the dailies prior to the exercise, alerting the public of the unclaimed bodies lying in various morgues, 105 of them at the City Mortuary.
“Pursuant to Public Health Act Cap 242, interested members of the public are asked to identify and collect the named bodies within seven days, failure to which the Nairobi Metropolitan Services will seek authority for disposal,” read the notice.
Mama Lucy Hospital had 11 unclaimed bodies, all of them labelled as “adult” while Mbagathi Hospital had three unclaimed bodies. Five of the victims in Mama Lucy were female. The list provided by the NMS gave available details including gender, cause of death, name and date. However, a number of bodies belonged to unknown persons who had also died under unknown circumstances.
Among the unclaimed bodies is that of a man whose remains have been lying at the Morgue since March 19 2020 after he was shot in Kamukunji. Cases of insecurity have rocked the city with increased kidnappings and robberies taking place. Of late, there is a worrying trend where people disappear only to be found deceased.
Out of the causes of death cited by NMS in the dailies, 11 of them were killed by drowning. Most cases indicated that most people were killed elsewhere before their bodies were dumped in rivers. Among the unclaimed bodies at the City Mortuary, 90 were male, among them four male suicide victims and four male victims of shooting.
There was a public outcry following the publication of the notice, with most people calling on the authorities to make use of fingerprint and personal data in identifying bodies.
“The first thing that the police should do after collecting a body is to identify the fingerprints. It is a shame that we should have so many bodies lying in the mortuaries unidentified,” Raphael Musau, a private Investigator with HawkEye said.