The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra is to hand over the hospital’s mortuary to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to be used as a city morgue for the preservation of unidentified bodies.
This is after the hospital has completed the construction of a new mortuary it is working on as part of activities to commemorate its centenary anniversary.
The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, said the construction of the new morgue project was under a private-public partnership agreement.
The hospital was established in 1923 by the then Gold Coast Governor, Gordon Guggisberg.
And as the premier teaching hospital in the country, it has chalked up a lot of successes in its 100 years of existence.
Dr Ampomah said there was a need for a city like Accra to have a morgue where unidentified bodies of victims in hit-and-run incidents, unidentified dead people and abandoned decomposing bodies were sent for forensic examination and the use of DNA to trace their families.
He said because the country did not have city morgues, health facilities such as Korle Bu and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals had become default morgues where unidentified bodies were deposited.
Dr Ampomah added that aside from the hospitals having to refrigerate the unidentified bodies at its expense, they also had to use their meager resources to organise mass burials, including advertising ahead of the exercise.
Also, the hospital had to pay for burial permits to the city authority which was primarily responsible for those abandoned bodies.
“City authorities are the bodies which receive taxes, such as property rates and, therefore, are responsible for these unidentified bodies,” the CEO said.
He added that apart from the frustrations they went through, when their pathologists, including consultant pathologists, worked on unidentified bodies, they were paid less than GH¢5 for each body, an amount which sometimes did not get paid.
Dr Ampomah mentioned other projects the hospital intended to embark on including the rehabilitation of the Endoscopy unit, the construction of a Paediatric Oncology unit, a new 24-hour pharmacy annex and the rebranding of the Dietherapy unit into a Nutrition and Dietetics Department.
The rest of the activities for the celebration of the anniversary are public lectures, outreach programmes, awards and fund-raising dinner dance, remembrance day, a float, homecoming and innovation summit.
Dr Ampomah appealed to corporate bodies and individuals to support the hospital in undertaking the projects.