Covid-19: Emerging Considerations for Body Sourcing and Handling.A Perspective View from Nigeria

Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Dec 28. doi: 10.1002/ase.2047. Online ahead of print.


The current Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has spread to about 220 countries of the world and has resulted in a significant number of deaths globally. Infections are still on the rise, and the impact on the global death rate could be devastating. There are fears over the likely impact of a large number of deaths on body sourcing and handling of cadavers for teaching and research. Historically, epidemics come with several challenges and have often led to some level of negligence of ethical practices and health and safety regulations associated with body sourcing and handling. The authors highlighted some emerging problems in this article, focusing on Africa and Nigeria in particular. These problems include a higher risk of coronavirus exposure for body handlers, shortage of cadavers for teaching and learning, a lack of standard regulations leading to unethical body sourcing and handling, and a lack of monitoring and collaboration needed for a well-coordinated Covid-19 pandemic response strategy. If these issues are ignored, the previous gains made in anatomical ethical practices may be destroyed. Some useful recommendations for policymaking geared towards prevention or curtailing these emerging issues have been instilled in this paper.

Keywords: Africa; Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; body donation; body handling; coronavirus; ethics; gross anatomy education; medical education; occupational safety.