Mortuary attendants at Luweero Town Council took drastic action on Wednesday, dumping decomposing corpses at the council offices in protest of unpaid wages and inadequate resources. The disturbing act prompted a swift response from both residents and officials, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the mortuary staff.
The protest was ignited by the delayed payment of allowances spanning from April to November 2023, amounting to Shs990,000 per person, according to the mortuary attendants. The demonstrators argued that the lack of financial support hindered their ability to carry out their duties properly, including the transportation and burial of unclaimed bodies.
Residents, while sympathetic to the attendants’ demands, expressed concern over the unorthodox protest method. Ms. Rashida Namatovu, a resident of Kiwogozi zone, voiced her support for the attendants’ cause but criticized the dumping of decomposing bodies at a public place, citing fear and discomfort, especially among children.
The mortuary attendants defended their actions, claiming a lack of essential materials, such as body bags and transportation resources, essential for the proper disposal of unclaimed bodies. They explained that, despite the challenges, they had no alternative means to carry out their duties.
Luweero Town Council Vice Chairperson, Mr. Nathan Lumu, attributed the delayed allowances to the late release of funds by the government and the limited financial resources of the town council. Lumu assured the public that the council was in talks with the mortuary attendants and pledged to resolve the issue promptly.
This incident sheds light on the broader challenges faced by Luweero Hospital, which earlier in the year sought assistance from district authorities due to the rising costs associated with managing unclaimed bodies. The hospital, burdened by the financial responsibility of transporting and burying these bodies, called for additional budgetary support.
In the wake of this protest, questions arise about the systemic issues affecting both mortuary attendants and healthcare facilities in Luweero, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to ensure the proper and dignified handling of deceased individuals in the community. The town must address these challenges collaboratively to avoid further disruptions to essential services.