One of the only three qualified doctors who carries out embalming at the National Referral Hospital, Dr Pedical Togamana, tonight announces that he’s doing it for zero dollars— dropping the $3,000 fee that’s usually paid directly for his service per dead body.
Dr Togamae’s announcement has taken the social media by storm—as embalming is a costly exercise for Solomon Islanders whom in most cases opted to take their dead relatives to their home provinces. Embalming helps to preserve the dead to be intact especially for long travels to the islands.
Writing on his fb page tonight, Dr Togamae said: “This is to inform you all that I will do free embalming service for all citizens. I am one of the three doctors whom NRH management approves us to perform the procedure with the labor cost of $3500 per person. From that $3,500, we pay the preservative solution – formalin worth $500 to the pharmacy and the $3000 we share with the assistant. However as of today, I made up my mind that I will abolish that $3,000 to free of charge to all SI (Solomon Islands) nationals.”
He however states that all other fees remain the same and must be paid to NRH accounts.(i.e embalming fee – $1500 and formalin ( medicine – $500).
Speaking to SBMOnline tonight, Dr Togamae explains his decision to do it for zero-dollar.
“I have given free embalming services since 2015 but to close friends and wantoks only
This year, the NRH Management called me and formalized with the same labour fee. But most times I felt bad about it.” He adds:“We are preparing a dead person but a living spirit: people are sad about the loss. And I believe that doing good to the dead is the most honorable thing to do.”
Furthermore, Dr Togamae said: “My father is a teacher, a village elder and a great chief of Isabel. So giving help or assisting anyone is not a new thing as we grow up with it.”
According to the doctor, in a week he carries out about three embalmment and depending on the cause of the death, one usually lasts between 30 minutes to one hour.
When asked how does he feel about the work, he replies: “Physically? It’s not really a clean job. Given that we don’t do them on a proper bed. The blood spills down to the floor and the chemical itself is really irritating to the eyes and the skin.”
Meanwhile Dr Togamae said he is teaching new graduates on how to carry out embalming.