Community/ Public Participation Medico – Legal Concepts to Identify Unclaimed or Missing Dead Bodies from Public Mortuaries to Improve Public Health in Western Kenya

Community/public participation in medico-legal matters serves as a benchmark for health determinants and high-quality integrated services in the area of criminal justice assistance for health. Unclaimed bodies or missing dead persons (UCBOMDPs) occur in about 44 million cases worldwide each year, with 88 percent of these cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. UCBOMDPs from road traffic accidents account for 30% and 10% of all UCBOMDPs in western Kenya and Kenya, respectively. 80% of these UCBOMDPs are associated with limited community participation / next of kin in UCBOMDP identification, resulting in a chronic prevalence of occupational health and safety hazards in public mortuaries. The goal of the study was to determine the extent of community participation, uptake of community mortuary services, and awareness of quality medico-legal concepts, training, and embalming, as well as to determine how service providers’ knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) influence the uptake of medico-legal concepts to reduce occupational health and safety hazards and improve health. Purposive and saturation sampling were used to obtain data from 235 respondents in exploratory and cross-sectional studies. Structured questionnaires, focus group discussions (FGDs), observations, and key informant interviews (KII) guides were used to collect data. 94 percent of mortuary service providers in tier 4 were primary and secondary education dropouts of males, on contract jobs with limited access to quality forensic in mortuary science, in contrast to trained females and males counterparts from tiers 5 and 6 mortuary facilities on permanent jobs, according to statistical inferences and content analysis to saturation. Embalming with gravity has a substantial OD (1.2, 0.44). Males admitted as UCBOMDPs in the community had a significant prevalence, with OD (8.3, 0.12), RR (0.33), 95 percent CI (1.23, 1.02), Males knowingly leaving IDs in dwellings for anonymity were linked to relevance. Detective police with OD (0.43, 6.0), 95 percent CI, had more community participation in medico-legal ideas (2.12, 1.34). Advocacy for comprehensive and complete community empowerment in medico-legal principles is still critical.

Author (s) Details

Maurice B. Silali
Department of Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, Maseno University, Kenya.

W. Odero
Department of Family Medicine, Maseno University, Kenya.

E. Rogena
Department of Anatomic Pathology, School of Medicine, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Kenya.

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