By John Agaba
Mulago hospital is stuck with the body of a traffic accident victim, whose identity remains unknown and has not been claimed by anyone.
The young woman, suspected to have been in her twenties (around 22 to 27, according to the nurse in-charge at ward 3A at the hospital), died last Friday. For five days now, her body has been at the hospital’s mortuary.
Enock Kusasira, the hospital’s public relations officer, said the body will be handed to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), who in turn will have to bury it, if none of her relations comes to claim it.
“It is sad. Maybe her people are looking for her. But we cannot keep the body in the mortuary forever. Bodies keep coming in. And we have to create space,” said Kusasira.
“Usually after two weeks, when no one has come to claim a body, we hand them over to KCCA,” Kusasira added.
He said in a month they hand about two to three bodies which have not been claimed by their relatives to the Authority.
Peter Kaujju, the KCCA spokesperson, said these are buried in the city cemetery of Lusaze in Kampala.
According to the hospital records, the victim was brought to the hospital on Easter Sunday, at about 6:00am, by the police who picked her from Seeta, Mukono district.
The only thing close to identification the slightly chocolate skin woman had on her was a wrist band on her left hand with the names Brenda Woods emblazoned on it.
“She was in a white blouse and pink trousers. Her hair was plaited.” said the nurse in-charge. “We suspect she was returning home or visiting someone.”
For the six days she was hospitalized, there was no one by her side, the only personnel taking care of her was the hospital’s social workers, said the nurse.
Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said in cases where victims cannot be identified, they include them in the ‘missing persons’ report, and encourage the could-be-relatives to look for them in hospitals and the mortuary.
“What happens is that most of these accidents happen on highways or in places not readily accessed by the police. But the people in the vicinity who come to help are in most cases interested in the merchandise than helping the victims. The rush for their wallets and conceal them. Yet most of the victims’ documents and IDs are usually in their wallets,” said Enanga
“The public should know the importance of identification in case of accidents. They should know that if you deprive a victim of their ID, you are making their survival difficult. Because they won’t be identified,” said the spokesperson.