Following media reports claiming unhygienic status of the National Referral Hospital’s (NRH) mortuary and loss of millions of dollars revenue from corrupt practices related to embalmment, the NRH is pleased to respond and provide contextual, correct and accurate information and updates on what has been done regarding the matter raised.

Upon receiving the media report a team, comprising of officials from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and NRH visited the Morgue as part of verifying information being published.

Following the visit, NRH would like to confirm that morgue hygiene and cleanliness are up to Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) standard with all other important components of a morgue fully functioning such as, air condition, cupboards and the spacing is sufficiently large to perform key tasks required within a morgue.

The inspection also confirmed that a bed size trolley is currently being used for embalming and post mortem procedures and meets basic IPC and safety standard required. NRH is following due processes to obtain a proper embalmment bed.

The drainage on the other hand is part of a number of structural issues in which the NRH management with support from MHMS is currently addressing with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) who have been supportive in the recent construction and handing over of the morgue.

Other requirements that the NRH is working on includes the tiling of the floor, partitioning the embalmment and storage space as well as providing a sluice to effectively remove and dispose of biological materials.

It is important to note that the current morgue facility is only temporary pending approval by cabinet of NRH’s business case which details a complete road map to improving all NRH infrastructures and services which also includes the morgue. With this in mind NRH is doing, all it can under the temporary morgue arrangement while the overall plan is being reviewed for endorsement.

With regards to embalmment payments, NRH had taken certain measures to address the matter in the past which includes reducing the number of embalmers to conduct embalmment to only three doctors with weekly shifts for ease of properly monitoring work performed including payments.

For each embalmment, it costs families of the deceased a total of $5000 dollars, $1500 paid to NRH for the use of relevant equipment, drugs and chemicals and $3,500 to the embalmer. It is under the discretion of the embalmer to pay his or her helpers, charge any amount from $3,500 and below to the deceased family or waiver the total fee. The money paid to embalmers are their entitlement for performing such a hazardous medical procedure.

On this note, NRH would like to clarify that the graphic picture of blood all over the floor of the morgue that accompanied the article is part of an embalmment procedure. Therefore, must not be considered or believed to be the usual daily status of the morgue’s level of hygiene. While pictures speaks a thousand words, if not used responsibly and appropriately can be misleading and damaging.

Furthermore, NRH would like to advise that pictures taken during any medical procedures and in this case the embalmment, must be given careful thought prior to publication as audiences vary in age, medical conditions and mental stability. Such pictures are inappropriate and can potentially cause harm.

Source: MHMS Media Release