NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11- Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has announced plans to transform the City Mortuary, and the first step is to rename it to City Funeral Home.
Kidero says that he wants “to do away with the colonial tag of a mortuary” and embark on a process of rehabilitating the facility that is in a sorry state.
“I paid an impromptu visit last Friday to the facility and found it to be in a horrible state,” said Kidero, who is a pharmacist by profession.
The Governor has held a series of meetings this week with the mortuary’s top management led by the Mortuary Superintendent Sammy Nyongesa and County Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Ayisi.
“We have discussed most of the challenges affecting their day-to-day operations and I have directed that on the short term, the contractor who has been servicing the coolers be paid Sh4 million which has been pending for ages,” he says.
Kidero also revealed that the 10 coolers which have been dysfunctional will be repaired this week as procurement procedures are being followed to acquire an additional seven coolers for storing bodies.
He has warned the 30 mortuary attendants that they will not be allowed to work under the influence of alcohol as has been the norm.
“They risk being sacked; we will not allow a family that is going through its lowest moment in life after losing a loved one to be harassed by drunkards seeking bribes so as to offer services,” he warned.
During the meeting he also directed that no family members are allowed entry into the cold rooms to search for bodies of lost relatives.
“Once a body is brought by police for whatever reason, photographs will be taken and the relatives will just view the photos from the administration block to identify the bodies rather than being taken round in circles by the attendants,” he said.
Among other changes that the Nairobi County Government intends to put in place include a process that will see the dilapidated City Mortuary headed by a pathologist.
The pathologist will head the autopsies and embalming wing on a full time basis as opposed to the current situation where pathologists are seconded from the Ministry of Medical Services.
Operations at the facility have been interrupted several times in the past, when the Ministry of Medical Services withdrew its seconded pathologists from the mortuary citing poor working conditions.
Letters seen by Capital FM News show that the Chief Government Pathologist had complained several times to the defunct City Council that that his officers were exposed to occupational hazards which could have been minimised if the they provided the workers there with adequate and clean facilities.
The City mortuary was established in 1956 when the population of Nairobi was a mere fraction of the estimated five million residents that is recorded today, with a capacity to hold 160 bodies at any given time.