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Doctor donates his body to government

Meru doctor donates his body to government

He says he benefited from somebody’s body when he was a student and it’s time to return the favour

A Meru doctor and owner of a nursing home has written a will requesting not to be buried when he dies.

Dr Cyprian Thiakunu explained that his family knows that he desires that his body be used by medical students, terming burials a waste of resources.

Thiakunu who quit his government job in 1992 says his decision was triggered by lack of cadavers for medicine students as most Kenyans deprive medicine and surgery student’s valuable bodies for their studies.

The man who owns the Nyambene Nursing Home in Muringene, Igembe Central sub-county, experienced the scarcity first hand while studying at the University of Nairobi for eight years to 1988. During his time in college, most of the cadavers were imported from Uganda.

Studying anatomy includes dissecting all parts of a human body and he recalls an incident when their lecturer was arrested at the Kenya-Uganda boarder on suspicion of witchcraft when he was caught transporting corpses for use by anatomy students.

The lecturer was the late Dr Joseph Maina Mungai who recounts the incidents in his biography, narrating how he returned to Kenya from Makerere University with six Ugandan corpses at the back of his Volkswagen and was only released when the government intervened.

Thiakunu had always wanted to include the donation of his body in his will, but the previous constitution did not have such provisions.

But one can now legally donate their body as “the problem in Kenya is getting bodies for medical students, but fortunately President Kenyatta signed it into law for people to donate their bodies for research.”

Thiakunu explained that he benefited from somebody’s body when he was a medical student and thought, “I should donate my body when I pass on so that it can be used for dissection by others.

If I, as Dr Thiakunu, dissected a human body and that is the reason why I became a medical doctor, why should I not donate mine also to be dissected by another Kenyan to gain that knowledge and be a doctor also?

To ensure his wishes are fulfilled, he has included that provision in his will – that his body be donated to the government for use by Kenyan medical students.

“We have even talked about it with my children, one of them who is a Dr Gitonga Thiakunu, and they have accepted that my body be donated, because burying it will serve no purpose. It is a good feeling to know that as a doctor, even after you die, you are still providing treatment, because the doctors who will be teaching the students will be using my body teach them about different tissues,” he said.

Thiakunu added a morgue to his nursing home after the death of his father. His dad passed away while he was in campus and on reaching home, he had been dead for four days, with maggots crawling all over the body.

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