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Sabotage Suspected In Buea Hospital Mortuary Breakdown 

By Fanny Mbain and * David Esung

Entrance to Buea Regional Hospital ridden with articles of 'Industry of death'

Entrance to Buea Regional Hospital ridden with articles of ‘Industry of death’

Dissenting voices have risen following an announcement by officials of the Buea Regional Hospital, calling on families with corpses at the hospital mortuary to come and retrieve them.

According to the announcement which has gone viral on the social media, the population is called upon to come and retrieve the corpses of their loved ones. The reason is what the hospital officials termed “a breakdown of the mortuary refrigerator.”

Speaking to The Post on Tuesday, October 11, one of the Mortuary Attendants, who refused to be named, said “the mortuary refrigerator got bad last week, and since then, “there has been no space to take in more corpses.”

Quizzed on the present state of the mortuary, he said “the mortuary is small. It can accommodate only 50 corpses, but the number of corpses brought to the mortuary now exceeds this number.”

Meantime, rumours are rife that the current problem in the mortuary is a deliberate sabotage by some hospital officials to assert their authority.

It would be recalled that members of the new Hospital Management Board, headed by the Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, in one of the Board meetings, agreed to construct a new mortuary. The goal was to meet the increasing demands of the population.

After the meeting, the Board Chair of the Hospital, Mayor Parick Ekema Esunge, launched the Buea Council ultra-modern mortuary project worth FCFA 200 million.

The Secretary General at the Southwest Governor’s Office, Clement Fon Ndikum laid the foundation stone of the project. But Buea Council caterpillars only rumbled on the site for a few days.

On July 28, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, halted the construction of the ultra-modern mortuary.The project site was at the entrance of the hospital.

Before the Governor’s decision, there was an outcry from the population as to why the council wanted another mortuary, when Buea already has two.
Observers held that Buea has so many problems, which need urgent attention and not an “Industry of Death” comprising; mortuaries, mortuary chapel, wreath and coffin shops that litter the hospital corridor.

The site for the ultra-modern mortuary was also contested based on environmental norms. This further strengthened the administrative halt on the project. Most hospitals have their mortuaries at the back of their premises, not in front.

A health technician suggested that the mortuaries in front of the hospital should be transformed into an out-patient unit and the mortuary constructed at the back of the health facility.

The Post further gathered that the Mayor who initiated the project ignored warnings from the Southwest Regional Delegation of Public Health on the choice of the site.

“How does a patient feel when coming for treatment with the extreme anxiety of getting cure for a serious illness, a life-saving desperation, he or she is greeted by mortuaries [houses of death]. This gives the desperate patient the impression that, that is where he or she will end up.

Psychologically, it plays on the mind of the patient,” a denizen quipped

However, as rumour of an apparent sabotage because of conflict of authority between the Mayor and Governor rages on, The Director of the Hospital, Dr. George Enow-Orock Enonchong turned down our request for comments on the issue.

“Walkout of my office. Is it not The Post that scandalised my name and now you want information from me, Get out,” Enonchong screamed.

Meanwhile, tongues are still wagging that some hospital officials would do everything possible just to have the suspended mortuary project re-established. This, even if it means sabotaging the current mortuaries.