The Lusaka City Council (LCC) has carried out the burial of 52 unclaimed bodies at the Chingwere Cemetery since the beginning of the year.
As per the official statement released by the Public Relations Officer, Nyambe Bulumba, 32 bodies were interred in March, followed by an additional 20 in May of 2023.
This action was taken in compliance with the law, as the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) had requested the council’s assistance in dealing with the unclaimed bodies.
The bodies, which had been left unclaimed for an extended period, were causing congestion in the hospital’s mortuary, leading to an adverse impact on the mortuary environment, in contradiction to the Public Health Act Cap 295 of the Laws of Zambia.
The council adhered to the legal process outlined in Section 16 (2), Paragraph 7, Sub-paragraph b of the First Schedule of the Local Government Act No. 2 of 2019.
As required by law, a public notice was published, granting a 14-day window for the general public to come forward and claim or identify any of the unclaimed bodies for a proper burial.
However, at the expiration of the stipulated period, no claims were made, prompting the LCC to proceed with the burials.
Nyambe Bulumba confirmed that an additional 65 bodies remain unclaimed and are set to be buried upon the request of the University Teaching Hospital.
The council has already published notices in the media, inviting members of the public to step forward and identify any of the bodies within a given timeframe to facilitate their rightful burial.
The Lusaka City Council’s actions align with legal mandates and the necessity to maintain proper public health standards, ensuring that unclaimed bodies are respectfully laid to rest after reasonable efforts to trace their identities or families have been exhausted.
This move emphasizes the importance of adhering to legal procedures and the responsibilities of local authorities in managing unclaimed bodies to prevent congestion in morgues and maintain public health standards in line with Zambian laws.