The failure of authorities at the Asesewa government hospital in the Eastern Region to repair three broken down refrigerators at the morgue has led to mass decomposition of bodies sent to the facility for preservation.
Currently, only two of the five refrigerators are partially functioning while the hospital also lacks a cold room to preserve the bodies.
Each of the refrigerators was designed to hold a maximum of two or three bodies depending on their sizes, but currently, over 13 dead bodies were seen lying on the floor and on the embalment stone awaiting to be pushed into the refrigerator when a visit was paid to the facility.
The preservation facilities have also never been upgraded since it started operating in 2011 with no bulbs inside the room as the mortuary man uses his mobile phone torchlight anytime he wants to work at night.
The situation has left the one-man staff mortuary man with no other option than to be running a shift system for the dead bodies.
As a result, bodies taken from the morgue on Fridays to be prepared for internment cannot be kept till the following day after their removal by families and loved ones to pay their last respects due to the pungent smell emanating from the bodies.
Mr. Joseph Kwao Tekpertey, an assembly member who is the head of Justice and Security Sub-committee at the Upper Manya Krobo District Assembly said he has had a bad experience with the situation.
He lamented that, on June 2, 2019, his son who died at the hospital was deposited at the morgue, but when he attempted to have a view of the body at the morgue, he was not allowed.
Several attempts to view the body at the morgue also proved futile, he added.
According to him, when the body was finally given to him on June 14, this year, it emanated a pungent smell which made it impossible for mourners to pay their last respect.
“We had to close the coffin at 2: 00am because we were not able to hold our breath”, he lamented.
He said that prior to his experience, he had earlier received several complaints from some members of the community.
Mr. Kwao Tekpertey said during one of the Assembly meetings, the issue was raised but a representative from the District Health Directorate told the House he was not aware of the situation and promised to come back with a response at the next meeting.
A female undertaker who only gave her name as Maame Mary also confirmed the challenge, adding that she had experienced several cases in recent times.
A source at the facility confirmed on Monday July 21, 2019 that five bodies got rotten because the stitching equipment used after the embalmment got broken and the mortuary man has since been using his own money to rent the equipment from the Koforidua Central Hospital at a cost of GHC20.00 from his monthly salary of GHC 260.00.
According to the source, the mortuary man has incurred a GHC 7,800 debt and the hospital has not been able to reimburse him.
The source said the mortuary man who became fed-up of the situation on one occasion refused to rent the tool after the hospital authorities allegedly told him there was no money after he had made a request.
Information gathered indicated that, the mortuary man became furious after he had intercepted a letter dated December 18, 2018 signed by the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Eric Boateng in reference to a letter number GHS/DG/G.2 also dated 19/11/18 indicating that the hospital has four (4) staff working at the morgue.
Meanwhile, checks from the morgue revealed that one Emmanuel Nargen Teye is the only worker at the morgue since his counterpart, Raymond Tetteh Boateng died in 2018.
The Hospital Administrator, Mr. Felix Sarfo confirmed the damage of the refrigerators on Monday in the presence of some management staff but said contract had been awarded for the repair of the equipment.
A repairer who was contacted on phone by the Hospital Administrator promised to work on the equipment but that has not been done at the time of publishing this story.