Authorities in Mityana Municipality have raised concern over the big number of unclaimed bodies at the district hospital.
The municipal town clerk, Mr Benson Otim, said on Wednesday that the big number of unclaimed bodies impacts on their budget.
Mr Otim said they bury between three and five unclaimed bodies every week in the public cemetery.
“The unclaimed bodies brought to Mityana hospital include those knocked down by vehicles while others are picked up from the town without any identification documents,” he said.
Mityana Municipality is located on the Kampala-Fort Portal highway, which is prone to road accidents and other forms of criminality.
‘When one dies in hospital, and is unclaimed, the authorities there throw the body at us and as a government, we take charge,” Mr Otim said.
“As I talk to you now, I have just received a letter from the hospital informing us that there are two bodies we should remove from the mortuary and bury,” he added.
A visit to the hospital mortuary revealed that the problem is grave with the pungent issuing from the bodies inside the morgue.
In December last year alone, Mr Otim said they buried a total of 39 bodies in their cemetery.
The unclaimed bodies are buried at Namukozi cemetery, which is part of the land used as a refuse dumping site.
The town clerk explained that as a municipality, they don’t have a budget for burying unclaimed bodies but endeavour to bury the bodies in a modest way.
“In fact we should bury them decently, but because we lack funds to do so, we end up burying them in a modest manner. In fact, the burial is temporary as some bodies are later claimed by relatives,” Mr Otim said.
He said each body buried is tagged for easy identification. “Usually there is no name on their graves — it is just a mortuary number corresponding to their file in the cemetery’s record system and a few details,” Mr Otim added.
The Mityana Municipality Health Officer, Dr Jackson Ssekikubo, said although the hospital has fridges in the mortuary, they cannot afford to keep bodies for more than two days because of the high cost of running the fridges.
He said most of the unclaimed bodies are victims of road accidents, gunshots during robberies and drowning.
Dr Ssekikubo said next financial year, they plan to buy another piece of land for burying the unclaimed bodies.
Mityana Resident District Commissioner Herman Ssentongo said the number of unclaimed bodies is exceedingly high and is a security concern.
“We want to investigate the source of these bodies; even if some are accident victims; we need to establish their identities so that relatives can claim them and give them a decent burial,” he said.
Mubende and Mityana districts have in the past years been rocked by cases of violent crime, with armed thugs killing people and stealing cash from them.
In January 2019, residents of Namukozi East Village, who live accross the public cemetery, complained that the unclaimed bodies are not buried properly.
They claim that they always see police patrols dump bodies at a nearby garbage dumping site.
Local leaders also complained about the poorly managed garbage dumping site, which has seen a stench engulf the entire village.
On the ground
The land housing both the public cemetery and garbage dumping site measures 8 acres and was bought by Mityana Municipal Council a decade ago.
Some five acres are used as a garbage dumping site while one acre serves as a cemetery. Another one acre is still vacant while another houses a faecal sludge for Mityana Town. Mityana Municipality has a population of about 105,200 people.