Lango Paramount Chief Yosam Odur has offered to spearhead a fundraising drive to collect money for rehabilitating a refrigerator for preserving dead bodies at Lira Army Barracks.
The facility installed at 403 Brigade military barracks along Lira-Aloi road in Lira town was mainly being used by civilians to preserve bodies.
Since November last year, however, locals have been facing difficulties, with many of them resorting to traditional ways of preservation using paraffin for those who cannot afford embalming fluid. The fluid contains a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents that cost a minimum of 60,000 shillings a litre from commercial pharmacies.
Odur, the Paramount Chief says he has offered to collect funds from his subjects who use the facilities to repair the mortuary. Odur’s decision stemmed from delays by the military to fix the facility that broke down more than a year ago.
Just last week, relatives of the late Engineer Samuel Tar-Iliba, works and technical services minister at the Lango Cultural Foundation or Tekwaro Lango, faced difficulties preserving his body, prompting the traditional leader to intensify his bid to source for funds to repair the broken facility.
Odur says he wants only 10 million shillings to renovate buildings housing the facility.
Second Lieutenant George Musinguzi, the 5th Division UPDF spokesman, welcomed the move by the traditional leader and urged that it should be done in consultation with the military leadership.
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He says arrangements are underway to repair the broken facility saying it has already been inspected by the UPDF engineers from Bombo Army Headquarters.
Musinguzi says much as the facilities have broken down they are still able to preserve bodies using chemicals bought from commercial pharmacies in town.
Beatrice Apong, the acting Lira district heath officer, says the district does not have any plan to install one because it does not have where to house it or ability to maintain it. She notes that even Lira Regional Referral Hospital does not have one either. Lira military barracks has about four refrigerators that can preserve up to 15 bodies at ago.