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05.08.2005 General News

Pledge Your Bodies For Medical Research


THE Department of Anatomy of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) has appealed to members of the public to make pledges in their lifetime to donate their bodies to the department to facilitate teaching and research.

Professor Aaron Lante Lawson, Head of the department, who made the appeal, said donors would be making significant contributions to knowledge acquisition, research and medicine if they did so.

He said the department was the foundation of all medical courses the world over, right from the basic sciences to post-graduate studies.

Currently, Professor Lawson said, the department used 25 bodies for teaching purposes annually but said because of the increasing student population, the department needed to have adequate stocks to meet the demand.

He made the appeal at the 41st anniversary celebration of the department on the theme, “Anatomy, the father of medicine”, at the UGMS in Accra on Wednesday.

Professor lawson said, it was extremely difficult for Ghanaians to pledge their dead bodies because of the way and manner corpses were adored in the country.

He said the department often relied on unclaimed bodies, which was not a reliable source and did not also meet the demand.

He expressed appreciation to the family of donors who kept the wishes of their deceased relations by handing over their bodies to the school.

Professor Lawson said because of the legal implications, prospective donors needed to apply to the school, fill some forms and sign affidavits before their promises could be endorsed.

Prospective donors, he said, could contact the school for more details. He pointed out however that the pledging of the bodies did not mean that the school would be under an obligation to compensate donors or their families.

Professor Lawson said the department was also embarking on a massive recruitment drive to attract young people to the department to be trained as lecturers to promote medical practice in the country.

The first Head of the Department of Anatomy, Professor, J. K. M. Quartey, was made a life member of the department and presented with a citation in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the department.

He, in turn, presented a file containing photocopies of all documents regarding the planning, training of lecturers and take-off of the department to the department.

A pioneer student of the department,Professor J. Oliver-Commey, recalled how half the pioneer class became smokers after their first encounter with corpses.

“Most of us could also not eat after the encounter,” he said.