BULAWAYO residents were last week rightfully miffed by reports that touts representing some funeral parlours had camped at Mpilo Central Hospital where they were scrambling for business.
In the course of going about their business, which in essence is soliciting for bodies for burial services, they are harassing relatives who would have just lost their loved ones.
Our sister paper Chronicle reported that apart from pouncing on grieving relatives, who moments ago would have received sad news of the passing on of their loved ones, these unscrupulous touts were also nicodemously finding their way into the hospital wards to check on “new deaths”.
“Hospital security should do their job and kick out these touts from the hospital premises. Most people now have funeral policies and the relevant parlour tied to that policy provides the service for their respective clients.”
“I think a proper channel should be put in place for them to conduct their business, a proper help desk should be made available where bereaved families may approach them for their services, or they should wait until they are called from their offices by hospital officials who then would allocate them business.”
These were some of the comments made online by concerned residents, and we also believe remedial action should be taken.
These funeral parlours should be kicked out of the hospital premises and anyone who desires their services will find them in their offices.
When someone goes to hospital, they are looking for treatment and should be given hope that they will become better, or their loved ones will be given “life”, just like the name of the hospital “Mpilo” means. But that hope fades at the sight of a hearse, or conversations at earshot about death.
We agree with the hospital’s clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya that the behaviour of the said funeral parlours was unAfrican and unprofessional.
“We don’t condone businesses who clandestinely conduct their operations.
“They must follow proper channels. We wouldn’t want people to be touting for bodies. Death is sacred and it is unAfrican for individuals to make business on death,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He added that the hospital had engaged the association representing funeral parlours to no avail, and we find it strange that the association is failing to bring its members to book.
Nonetheless, if the hospital is failing to get a positive response from the funeral parlours association, then it has to engage the services of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to deal with those who are out of line, because the truth of the matter is that they are trespassing.
A few years ago, Health and Child Care minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said there were touts at major hospitals accused of snatching bodies from mortuaries and storing them at improper facilities.
This, according to Dr Parirenyatwa resulted in rats feasting on the bodies.
He was denying claims raised by MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga that rats were feasting on corpses in most mortuaries in the country due to lack of properly refrigerated facilities.
“There are no rats at mortuaries, it is not true. However, the problems that we find is that there are a lot of touts outside hospitals and they divert corpses and claim that it is the problem of mortuaries.”