By Isaiah Eka
The Akwa Ibom Government has approved 200 abandoned corpses in a public mortuary for mass burial in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, disclosed this in Uyo on Thursday while defending the 2017 budget of his ministry.
Ukpong said the abandoned corpses for mass burial are to be evacuated from the mortuary at the Ikot Okoro General Hospital, Abak Local Government Area.
He explained that the impending exercise was intended to complement what his ministry carried out at the Immanuel General Hospital, Eket, last year.
The commissioner said that virtually every public hospital where mortuary services are provided in the state are overloaded with abandoned corpses.
He blamed the high number of abandoned corpses at the public mortuaries on poor burial planning.
According to him, the situation at times took their surviving relations between two to three years of planning.
“As you may be aware, we have a tradition that when a chief or the head of a family died, demands would be made to the deceased family to the extent of exposing them to place their lands for sell that would last for between two to three years thereby over stretching our mortuaries with abandoned corpses,” Ukpong said.
He noted that so many abandoned corpses, littered around mortuary premises under harsh weather conditions, have been transformed to stock fishes and exposed to vulture to feed on.
The commissioner explained that mass burial was the only avenue of decongesting public mortuaries of abandoned corpses to enable people with good burial planning to patronise their services in the state.
Ukpong used the forum to request for financial provision from the state government to enhance emergency response services in the state.
He said: “Where there is a stampede at the stadium or a repeat of the recent Reigner Bible Church collapse, it would be possible for health officials from the ministry to control such situation with ease.”
Ukpong explained that Emergency Response Services has to do with the provision of stand by ambulances, available essential healthcare facilities and specialised health professionals specifically placed by government for quick delivery of medical services at any point in time.
The commissioner described Emergency Response Services as the most civilised way of healthcare intervention.
He solicited the cooperation of the chairman and members of the appropriations and finance committee in this regard for the best to be achieved in the state.
The Chairman, state House of Assembly Committee on Appropriation, Dr Usoro Akpanusoh, urged the commissioner to give priority attention to areas of need based on available funds.
Akpanusoh commended the commissioner for the medical services the officials of his ministry rendered during the collapsed of Reigner Bible Church building in Uyo last year.