In Akwa Ibom, Government To Bury 200 Abandoned Corpses
No fewer than two hundred corpses in a public mortuary are to be given mass burial by the Akwa Ibom State government within the first quarter of the year, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, has said.
The Health Commissioner made this disclosure while defending the 2017 budget of his ministry indicating that the corpses were abandoned.
According to him, the abandoned corpses are to be evacuated from the mortuary at Ikot Okoro General Hospital, Oruk Anam Local Government Area of the state stressing that similar exercise was carried by the ministry at Immanuel General Hospital, Eket LGA a year ago.
He made known that almost all public hospitals where mortuary services are provided in the state are overloaded with abandoned corpses.
The Health Commissioner attributed the high number of abandoned corpses at the public
mortuaries on poor burial planning which, according to him, at times took their surviving relations between two to three years without fulfilling.
His words: “As you may be aware, we have a tradition that when a chief or the head of a family dies, demands will be made to the deceased family to the extent of exposing them to place their lands for sale and this will last for between two to three years thereby overstretching our mortuaries with abandoned corpses,” .
The Commissioner complained that so many abandoned corpses were being littered around
the mortuaries premises under harsh weather condition to the extent of looking like stock fish, adding that these are often exposed to vulture for feeding.
To the State Ministry of Health, mass burial was the only avenue of decongesting public
mortuaries of abandoned corpses to enable people with good burial planning to patronise their services in the state.
Calling on for financial provision from the state government to aid emergency response services in the state, he argued that such financial provision was necessary to enable health officials to response promptly to emergency situations in any part of the state.
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“Where there is a stampede at the stadium, possible collapse of person at any point in time or a repeat of the recent Reigners’ Bible Church collapse, it would be possible for health officials from the ministry to control with ease such a situation”, he added
Ukpong explained further that Emergency Response Services has to do with the provision of stand-by ambulances, available essential health care facilities and specialised health professionals specifically placed by government for quick delivery of medical services at any
point in time.
The commissioner described Emergency Response Services as the most civilised way of health care intervention and solicited the cooperation of the chairman and members of the appropriations and finance committee to cooperate with the ministry for a better result.
However, the chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Dr. Usoro Akpanusoh, urged the Commissioner to only give priority attention to areas of need for the available funds to be allocated instead of overcrowding the budget with trivial matters.
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