The development of an online system to help identify unclaimed bodies at state mortuary to be finalised

Health South Africa

Tebogo Msimanga |

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) says it plans to finalise the development of an online system that will assist in the identification of unclaimed and unidentified bodies at public mortuaries towards the end of this year.

The Gauteng Forensic Pathology Information Management System (FPSIMS) will provide various services that will include recording, tracking, and reporting demographic data of the deceased persons, generate autopsy, and toxicology reports, amongst others.

Spokesperson of Gauteng MEC for Health, Kwara Kekan said the GDoH hopes the implementation of this system will reduce the number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies in government mortuaries which continues to increase. “There was a slight decrease in the number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies in the 2020/2021 financial year, which can be attributed to COVID-19 lockdown.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, there were 898 unclaimed and unidentified bodies recorded which was lower than 1 173 recorded in the 2019/2020 financial year, and 1 117 recorded in the 2018/2019 financial year.”

Kekana added that there was also a decline in the number of bodies stored at government mortuaries in the 2020/2021 financial year, with 16 243 bodies stored for the period which was less than 18 324 in the 2019/2020 financial year and 17 940 in the 2018/2019 year.

“The Forensic Pathology Services currently works with South African Police to trace families of the deceased people. This also includes the use of fingerprints for identification purposes.”

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