KZN Health unveils new forensic pathology services fleet for dignified collection of human remains
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DURBAN - KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane unveiled a new fleet of 16 Forensic Pathology Services vehicles at the Dumbe Community Health Centre (CHC), under the Zululand District, on Friday.
The latest addition to the Province’s fleet brings to 128 the number of operational Forensic Pathology Services vehicles in the province. It includes two brand-new disaster vehicles that are able to carry up to 12 bodies at a time, with chilling facilities that can be plugged into an electric socket. The other additional 14 bakkies can carry a maximum of 4 bodies each. The investment is valued at R13 million.
The provincial Health Department said the vehicles would be distributed throughout KwaZulu-Natal.
Simelane said the vehicles were intended to reduce pressure on the existing pathology fleet and affirm the department’s commitment to reduce often sensitive situations for forensic pathology staff.
She said the Forensic Pathology Services was one of the often neglected but crucial services for the Health Department, and was responsible for the dignified removal of human remains after someone had passed away in a residential home or road accidents.
Simelane said some of the existing fleet vehicles were either non-operational any more or broke down regularly. A small fleet also took longer to reach accident scenes.
“We realised, as a department, that there was a need for a new fleet of pathology vehicles to reduce waiting times at scenes. The new vehicles also have multiple shelves which would assist with the dignified removal of human remains in cases such as accident scenes.
“As a department. we know these are not enough, and that there is a need for more vehicles, but like other provincial departments we have budget constraints. The plan is at least to introduce more vehicles each financial year to address the growing need,” said Simelane.
The MEC said the department also used the launch to receive on-the-ground feedback from staff on the shortage of skills in the pathology division and grievances over working conditions.