Kenyatta National Hospital issued a public notification requesting that unclaimed dead be collected from their current resting place. The hospital’s administration specified that members of the public have seven days to claim the deceased. In accordance with the Public Health Act Cap 242, the hospital asked interested parties to identify and collect the bodies within the specified time frame. Failing to do so, the hospital will seek court authority to dispose of them.
The hospital also made it known that the list of corpses is available to the public at the KNH goodbye home in the same announcement. This development comes only a few weeks after Nairobi County had requested that Kenyans retrieve 292 unclaimed dead from city morgues.
The hospital’s request is in line with the Public Health Act Cap 242, which requires public mortuaries to dispose of any unclaimed bodies in their care within a specified time frame. The law also allows mortuaries to dispose of unclaimed bodies by cremation, burial, or any other means that the court may direct.
The process of collecting unclaimed bodies from public mortuaries is usually tedious, as most families are unaware that their relatives are in such facilities. To facilitate the process, public mortuaries usually post the names of the deceased on their notice boards or websites. They may also seek the help of the police or the media in locating the deceased’s next of kin.
The decision by the hospital’s administration to request the collection of unclaimed bodies could be due to space constraints or the need to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. Unclaimed bodies can also be a public health hazard and may attract pests or other diseases.
The collection of unclaimed bodies from public mortuaries is a common occurrence in many countries. It is usually the responsibility of the next of kin to ensure that the deceased receives a decent burial or cremation. In some cases, the government may take over the responsibility of burying or cremating the deceased.
The collection of unclaimed bodies has become more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many families have been unable to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones due to lockdowns and restrictions on movement. This has led to a backlog of unclaimed bodies in many public mortuaries worldwide.
The issue of unclaimed bodies is not unique to Kenya. Many countries have been grappling with the problem of unclaimed bodies for years. In the United States, for instance, it is estimated that over 4,000 unclaimed bodies are cremated or buried each year.
In conclusion, the request by the Kenyatta National Hospital administration for unclaimed dead to be collected from their last resting place is in line with the Public Health Act Cap 242. It is the responsibility of the next of kin to ensure that their deceased relatives receive a decent burial or cremation. The collection of unclaimed bodies is a common occurrence in many countries, and it has become more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.