Namibia: Police Neglected Their Duties – Health

THE HEALTH ministry distanced itself from the piling up of bodies at the Windhoek police mortuary, charging that the police have neglected their duties.

The Namibian reported on Thursday that police have run out of space at the Windhoek mortuary because most of the bodies have not been claimed.

Health permanent secretary Andreas Mwoombola on Friday said they are only responsible for unclaimed bodies from public health facilities.

He said the procedure to conduct burials for unclaimed bodies is clear: "approach the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for the proper identification of bodies. Seek authorisation from the Ministry of Justice to conduct burials through cremation".

He added that the ministry regularly disposes of unclaimed bodies through these methods from all mortuaries at state health facilities.

In the Khomas region, Mwoombola said there is only one mortuary which belongs to the ministry.

"The ministry has allocated a portion of the mortuary to the Namibian Police for the storing of their bodies. In circumstances where resources allow, the ministry assists the Namibian Police in the Khomas region to dispose of their unclaimed bodies. However, this does not make it a responsibility of the ministry," he stressed.

Mwoombola said the ministry has one responsibility towards the Namibian Police, which is to provide medical doctors for conducting post-mortems.

Meanwhile, ministry spokesperson Ester Paulus also explained that the Khomas police has the responsibility to bury the bodies, as is the case with other regions.

Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga on Wednesday said about N$5 million is needed to conduct paupers' burials for some of the 180 unclaimed bodies piling up at the Windhoek mortuary. The bodies stood at 184 on Thursday.

The police mortuary at the Windhoek Central Hospital also serves Okahandja, Dordabis and the areas close to Windhoek, but can only accommodate 24 bodies at full capacity.

Source: The Namibian