Gauteng state mortuaries to get makeover

The Gauteng Department of Health says it has outlined plans to refurbish mortuaries across the province in a bid to ensure that the deceased are afforded the necessary dignity.

In the current financial year 2016/17, the department said, a total of R8.8 million has been allocated for refurbishments and maintenance of mortuaries across the province.

The department also said it has a major capital works project for the construction of new Johannesburg Forensic Pathology Services (FPS), which will start in November 2016.

The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital’s waiting area, toilets and flooring will also be refurbished. An office at Steve Biko Academic Hospital will be transformed into a private viewing room for bereaved family members.

The District Hospitals and Clinics’ old cold rooms will be replaced, new fridges will be installed and family viewing rooms will be built.

In Tertiary and Regional Hospitals, old fridges will be upgraded; office space and storage capacity will also be increased, said the department.

With about 450 officials working in mortuaries across the province, the department said the body load ranges from 1 736 to 8 060 per hospital in the central hospitals.

In district hospitals, the department said the load ranges from 7 128 to 8 325, and in regional and tertiary hospitals the load ranges from 17 011 to 18 476.

Dr George Mukhari Academic in Tshwane and Tertiary and Regional Hospitals in the province have no shortage of officials working in their mortuaries.

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital Mortuary has a shortage of about four officials, while Steve Biko Academic Hospital is short of two employees; Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Mortuary has about nine vacancies.

The District Hospitals have a shortage of 11 and there are 10 vacancies at Forensic pathology. The department has employed about 44 Pathologists based in different FPS. The case load per pathologist per annum is an average of about 250, said the department.

However, the department said the number might increase to an average of about 500 bodies per pathologist per annum as a result of trauma and violence.

Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said the department is busy with ongoing recruitment of suitably qualified officials to work in the facilities to capacitate the current staff.

Source: South African Government News Agency