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FG inaugurates committee to develop policy on management of disaster victims

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Officials load the body of a victim to the general hospital mortuary on a street of the Jiddari Polo neighbourhood of the northeastern Nigeria city of Maiduguri, on Februray 16, 2019 (Photo by Audu MARTE / AFP)

The Federal Government has inaugurated a committee for the development of Policy documents on the Management of victims in disaster situations.

It will harness all available resources towards producing a concise policy document for smooth implementation and management of human remains during emergency and disaster situations in the country.

Speaking at the inauguration, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, noted that the greatest respect to the dead was a befitting burial and appropriate preservation when necessary.

“Identification of cause and pattern of death for forensic evidence to enable preventive intervention to forestall such deaths of the living is also very important,” he said.

Abdullahi, who was represented by Director, Department of Hospital Services, Dr. Joseph Amedu said, “Management of the dead in mass casualty requires preservation of the dignity of the deceased as they cannot speak to demand justice for themselves.

“Therefore, it is imperative that bodies/body parts should be treated with respect and afforded dignity at all times, he stressed. Management of the body in cases of mass casualty can be daunting as emphases are often directed to the living and the dead often neglected.”

Abdullahi explained that the goals of the committee are, managing human remains in emergency and disaster situations, indicating clear responsibility of forensic laboratory services and management of human remains.

Others are regulating and implementing forensic laboratory services in Nigeria, bringing together a coordinated approach for stakeholders on management of human remains and developing a national policy guide for the management of human remains and forensic services.

He commended the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) for its efforts towards providing technical and financial support and ensuring that the project succeeds.

Speaking, Head, Teaching Hospital Division, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, said, “This inauguration is long overdue and it is incumbent on us to collaborate with relevant stakeholders towards an efficient and effective service delivery in the Health Sector.’

“The ministry has a leadership role in handling human remains and need to concentrate resources on the management of bodies and body parts, especially during mass casualty’’

Responding, Forensic Specialist, ICRC, Dr. Elif Gunce Eskikoy, pledged continuous collaboration and technical support towards improving management of disaster victims in the country.


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