Independant On-line, SA's high Aids toll fuels new invention, 26 January 2004

South Africa's daunting Aids toll has prompted a new invention: a refrigerated coffin in which a body can be stored up to a month, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The designer, Pieter van Rensberg, said his invention could slash the costs of preserving bodies of people in poor rural communities whose families might take days to turn up for the funeral or those of migrant workers who die far from home, The Sunday Times said.

Van Rensberg said his invention, the Porta-morgue, was basically an insulated coffin with a cooling unit, adding that it was prompted by the growing number of Aids deaths.

About 5,3 million South Africans in a population of 44,8 million are infected with HIV or Aids, a higher rate than any other country.

5,3 million South Africans are infected with HIV or Aids
" (It) has good insulation and is relatively cheap to operate," he said, adding that a body could be preserved for up to a month at a temperature of 4°C.

While being transported, the coffin can be switched off for 12 hours without the body spoiling, he said.

The invention won van Rensberg a design award from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

Adrienne Viljoen, manager of the SABS Design Institute, said the product "demonstrates the down-to-earth practicality of how to preserve your loved one until burial". - Sapa-AFP




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