The Mortuary attendants leaving the town council offices after they were persuaded to transfer the decomposing bodies to the public cemetery. PHOTO URN

Dead Bodies Dumped at Council Offices: Officials Disown Protesting Mortuary Attendants

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The Luweero Town Council has suspended the involvement of a mortuary attendant and a casual labourer in handling the burials of unclaimed bodies due to their demonstration over unpaid allowances. George Kalibbala, a mortuary attendant, and Rogers Bulime Kakumba, a casual labourer at Luweero Hospital, protested by dumping two decomposing bodies at the Luweero Town Council offices.

They were demanding outstanding allowances totalling to sh990,000 covering the period from April to November 2023.

Following a crisis meeting chaired by Innocent Asaba, the Luweero Chief Administrative Officer, the two were required to issue apologies for their demonstration. However, the town council disclaimed any agreement to provide them with allowances and directed them to refrain from conducting any burials on behalf of the council.

Chris Buwembo, the Luweero Town Council chairperson, clarified that the town council is not legally bound to disburse the said allowances as the hospital falls under the district’s jurisdiction. Buwembo detailed the town council’s intention to hire designated casual workers for the interment of unclaimed bodies specifically within its jurisdiction. Furthermore, the council expressed its reluctance to cover burial expenses for bodies recovered from its area.

When approached for comments, both Bulime and Kalibbala declined to provide statements, as did the hospital administration. Dr. Steven Magera, the hospital’s medical superintendent, highlighted in an October letter addressed to town clerk Lydia Nabaasa that an agreement was previously made for the town council to remunerate the attendants for handling the burials of unclaimed bodies.

Magera emphasized the town council’s legal obligation under the Public Health Act to ensure proper and timely burials. Erastus Kibirango, the Luweero district chairperson, emphasized the council’s responsibility to manage the interment of unclaimed bodies and urged adherence to prior agreements regarding the attendants’ allowances.

In a separate incident, Luweero Police discovered two unclaimed bodies in Kamira sub-county. John Ojokuna, the Luweero District Police Commander, highlighted the practice of transporting bodies to Luweero Hospital due to its mortuary facilities and the availability of a pathologist.

However, Police officials expressed their disapproval of the attendants’ use of dead bodies as a means of negotiation for allowances, leading to the initiation of a General Enquiry file for investigation.

Additionally, Luweero Hospital faces challenges with inadequate mortuary facilities, resulting in bodies being stored on cement floors and causing a persistent unpleasant odour in the hospital premises.

An estimated average of three bodies is received at Luweero Hospital every week, sourced from various incidents including accidents.


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