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In Sofala province, the disappearance of corpses and their apparently mistaken identification in Beira Central Hospital (HCB) morgue is generating confusion and turmoil.
In the last two weeks, one body has been mislaid, and two others have been delivered by mistake into the hands of the wrong relatives.
The most recent case took place last weekend, when the body of an elderly man disappeared from the mortuary.
After preparing the grave, the relatives went to the HCB morgue, but could not find the corpse of their loved one.
“Now we are wondering if he did indeed die. If he did die, then where is he? We have already bought a coffin and laid out for food, transportation, funerary agency and so on, but … nothing. This is very hurtful. There is no explanation. How can a body just disappear from a hospital?” family members ask.
The Councillor for Urban Management and Equipment in the Municipal Council of Beira, Manuel Joaquim, admitted weaknesses in funeral services.
“In fact, there was a first case related to the exchange of bodies between two families as a result of human error, with responsibility shared between morgue officials and the family. A few days later, we had the second case related to a Covid-19 patient, who died at Hospital 24 de Julho. We offered confirmation to the family, but they said it was not the body of their relative. We checked all the drawers in the morgue, without finding the body. But identification of the body is done by the health authorities; we just get the tagged body,” he said.