The Federal Government has inaugurated a Committee for the production of policy documents on the Management of Human Remains in disaster situations. The Committee would harness all available resources towards ensuring a concise document for smooth implementation of the policy for the management of Human remains in emergency and disaster situations in Nigeria.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja, recently, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, represented by the Director, Department of Hospital Services, Dr. Joseph Amedu, noted that “the greatest respect that is owed to the dead is a befitting burial, appropriate preservation when necessary, identification of cause and pattern of death for forensic evidence to enable preventive intervention to forestall such deaths, in the living’’.
Mr. Abdullahi further said that Management of the dead in mass casualty requires preservation of the dignity of the deceased as they cannot speak to demand justice for themselves; therefore, it is imperative that bodies/body parts should be treated with respect and afforded dignity at all times. He pointed out that management of the body/body parts in cases of mass casualty can be daunting as emphases are often directed to the living with neglect of the dead.
To this end, the Permanent Secretary spelt out the Goals of the Committee to include: The management of Human Remains in Emergency and Disaster situations in Nigeria, Indicate clear responsibility of Forensic Laboratory Services and Management of Human Remains in Nigeria; To regulate and implement Forensic Laboratory Services in Nigeria; To bring together a coordinated approach for stakeholders on Management of Human Remains in Nigeria and the policy to serve as a National Policy Guide for the management of Human Remains and Forensic services. The Draft policy document is to be submitted to the Honourable Minister of Health for approval and further recommendation to the National Council on Health.
Mr. Abdullahi, lauded the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for its efforts towards providing technical and financial support and ensuring that the project came to reality.
In her opening remarks, the Head, Teaching Hospital Division, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, said that “this inauguration is long overdue and it is incumbent on us to collaborate with relevant stakeholders towards an efficient and effective service delivery in the Health Sector’’
She added that “the ministry has a great leadership role in the handling of human remains and need to concentrate their resources on the management of bodies and body parts especially during mass casualty’’
In her remarks, the Forensic Specialist, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dr.Elif Gunce Eskikoy, pledged continuous collaboration and Technical Support towards improving management of Human Remains in Nigeria.
Mrs. Boade Akinola
Director, Media and PR