A new electronic system to make the identification of unknown and unclaimed bodies much easier is being developed by the Gauteng health department.
The service would solve the problem whereby a majority of unclaimed bodies lay in various mortuaries in the province.
According to the department, 117 of the 1,173 bodies recorded missing in 2020 were in Pretoria.
The system intends to assist families and the police in the identification of persons who had died and their bodies were in a public mortuary, but had not been formally identified or were missing.
Gauteng department of health spokesperson Kwara Kekana said that Gauteng for the 2020 calendar year, had recorded 1,173 unclaimed and unidentified bodies in the 11 provincial forensic pathology service mortuaries.
“A majority of these bodies were at Germiston mortuary with 400, followed by Johannesburg with 169, while Pretoria had 117 and Diepkloof 103.”
Kekana said the development of the Gauteng forensic pathology services information management system would record, track, and report demographic data of the deceased persons, generate autopsy, and toxicology reports, among others.
She said the handover process of the system from the department of e-government, and the developer to the Gauteng department of health had started.
“The system will also help with body intake and release, evidence and property tracking, storage, and destruction, while the second phase involves the development of the missing person website.”
Kekana said if bodies that had been admitted to Gauteng provincial government forensic pathology service mortuaries had not yet been identified after seven days, it would be accessible through the website.
Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said: “The implementation of forensic pathology information management system, whose second phase entails the development of the missing persons website, will make the identification of unknown and unclaimed bodies much easier.
“We also hope that the generation of toxicology and autopsy reports through the information system will help improve turnaround times and reduce the backlogs.”
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