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‘Autopsy studies are for the living and not the dead!’ This statement underlines the central role of autopsy studies in refining and informing the medical and forensic science body of knowledge. Significant outbreaks, like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have continued to reveal the capacity gap in autopsy practice, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite the importance of autopsy in investigating previous infectious disease outbreaks, health systems in SSA still assign a lesser priority to autopsy and forensic practice. Some of the critical factors hindering routine clinical autopsy are the lack of experts and facilities, and a health system that focuses less on postmortem examination. Societal traditions and cultural beliefs against the practice of autopsy and manipulation of the dead body are also significant barriers. Nevertheless, strengthening the role of autopsy in clinical practice may help clinicians to more quickly address clinical questions associated with highly infectious outbreaks.

Original publication




Journal article


Forensic Science International: Reports

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