Manama hospital mortuary gets attention 

Source: Manama hospital mortuary gets attention | The Herald

Manama hospital mortuary gets attention
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro

Bulawayo Bureau

Attention is being given to Manama Mission Hospital in Matabeleland South, with Government allocating $28 million towards upgrading the health centre, which is operating with dilapidated infrastructure.

Some of the buildings at the hospital were destroyed recently by a violent storm.

And one of the major concern is the dysfunctional mortuary, a situation that has been forcing villagers to use traditional methods to preserve bodies of their deceased relatives.

Speaking during a visit to the hospital on Tuesday, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro noted the dysfunctional mortuary and other areas that need attention.

He said this was unexpected of the hospital which was one of the major referral centres in Matabeleland South.

“I was at the mortuary and nothing is working,” he said.

“It’s a 12-body refrigerator mortuary, but none of the fridges are functional.

“We have given instruction that part of the money that will come to the hospital should be used to refurbish the mortuary and for buying necessary equipment such as refrigerators and compressors.

“As Government we will ensure that funds are availed in order to get this mortuary up and running.”

Gwanda district medical officer, Dr Blessed Gwarimbo, said the mortuary needed new refrigerators and cooler rooms.

He said efforts had been made to repair the refrigerators, but they kept developing faults.

Villagers serviced by the hospital in Gwanda South constituency have resorted to keeping bodies of their dead relatives at their homes awaiting burial.

They say this method can preserve a body for two nights.

The villagers said they had resorted to this method as they could not afford services of private funeral parlours who charge  storage fees of R400 per night.

Mr Promise Ncube from Matulungundu village in Ward 16 said: “This hospital has been operating without a mortuary for many years which has left us with no other option, but to create our own mortuaries in our own homes.

“We can’t afford to use services of private funeral parlours in the area as they are expensive. We also can’t afford to ferry the bodies to Gwanda Provincial Hospital, which has forced us to store bodies in our homes.

“When my brother died early this year, we collected his body and kept it in the house for two days before burying him.”

Headman Mr Nyakallo Makhurane said the method of keeping bodies in homes had become very common in the area.

“We have used this method several times to bury community members and its now a common thing,” he said.

“Some use river sand and water while others use fertiliser as well as. It helps to preserve bodies. The major challenge is that some bodies are buried before other relatives who are in faraway places such as South Africa come. This causes tensions among families.

“Families end up conducting their burials speedily before the corpse gets bad.”