The Morticians and Allied Professionals Association (MAPAKE) has partnered with two public universities to roll out diploma programmes for mortuary attendants in the country.
The Diploma in Mortuary Science Programmes to be rolled out at the University of Nairobi and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology will unlock opportunities for morticians and facilitate their career progression.
MAPAKE National Chairman Elkana Mugambi said the initiative targets to build capacity for morticians to enhance service delivery.
Morticians, he said have been relegated to the periphery despite the critical role they play, adding that through the programme, the association will push for the implementation of a scheme of service to enable them to grow in service.
‘‘For a long time, mortuary services have been treated on the periphery and have not been given the right recognition that they deserve. Through MAPAKE, morticians now have a voice and the desired recognition,” he said.
A Mortuary Science Diploma holder, he said will be treated like any other paramedic, who holds a diploma adding that so far about 500 morticians in the country had received formal training.
Speaking at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu during the first Annual Morticians Conference, Mugambi said the drive to train Morticians targets to clean the image of the profession and weed out quacks giving it a bad name.
Mugambi said nobody will be allowed to practice mortuary science without the qualifications adding that the association had embarked on registration and licensing of the officers.
‘‘We urge all morticians to realise that the journey has started and the more they stay outside this bond, the more they will find it difficult to move forward, because we are starting the regulation and licensing of morticians,” he said.
The conference laid emphasis on the role of morticians in handling dead bodies after a disaster and the importance of preserving evidence for identification.
The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers-KUDHEIHA, Government Chemist Office, Independent Medic Log Union-IMLU-, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) also graced the event.
IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama lauded morticians for the role they play in receiving, preserving and preparing bodies and in the Criminal Justice System.
‘‘The criminal justice system relies on forensic evidence especially those collected from dead bodies to confirm the causes of death and circumstances of death,’’ Kiama espoused.
IMLU, he said, will explore partnership with the morticians to enhance their capacity, skills and competencies in preservation of evidence and accountability.
By Rolex Omondi and Sherwood Gift