University of Bahia has only one corpse for up to 165 health students to study

University of Bahia has only one corpse for up to 165 health students to study
University of Bahia has only one corpse for up to 165 health students to study

The Medical Council believes that future doctors could be harmed. Credit: Disclosure/UFOB

The presence of cadavers available to students at universities is essential for the training of future health professionals, but access to them is not a simple task. In Bahia, the number of human bodies for study purposes is insufficient and one can be used by up to 165 students in a semester. At the Federal University of Bahia (Ufba), the largest in the state, the average is 57 students for each body. In addition to the Medicine course, they are used by students studying Dentistry, Nutrition, Nursing and even Dance.

The scarcity of corpses worries health course teachers who believe that students’ training is harmed when there is no contact with the real body. “Nothing compares to studying the human body in a cadaver. In fact, no human being is the same and anatomical variations are only found in them and never in synthetic models”, says Telma Masuko, who is a professor and coordinator of the Body Donation Program at Ufba.

The program was created in 2017 to encourage the donation of bodies for research purposes, especially in Salvador and the Metropolitan Region. The process for an educational institution to acquire a corpse goes through two paths: through an agreement with the Public Security Secretariat (SSP), which sends unidentified bodies to universities, or through donations from family members. Each corpse is usually used by students for, on average, ten years.

When there is no direct donation from the family, the process is slow. Between 2007 and 2017, Ufba only received one corpse through the agreement with SPP. After the incentive program was created, the university has already received five donations. Today, 1,500 students from 13 courses have access to 26 corpses, according to information from the institution. The number is much higher than the ideal quantity: one in every ten students.

To make a donation, you must be over 18 years old, contact the university (see below) and request the Voluntary Donation Intent, which must also be completed by two witnesses. Bodies weighing 100 kilos or more are not accepted, for storage reasons, or whose cause of death is due to violent death or infectious diseases.


The future of doctors who do not learn to manipulate the human body using cadavers may be compromised. This is what Otávio Marambaia, president of the Regional Council of Medicine of the State of Bahia (Cremeb), says. “Nothing beats the contact, the feeling of the doctor performing the dissection and learning anatomy properly. As for whether it will be impacted in the future, only the future will tell, but, without this experience, learning is certainly compromised”, he analyzes.

At the Federal University of Western Bahia (Ufob), the situation is even worse. The institution only has one female corpse for 165 health course students. “Synthetic dolls have errors, distortions and limit the study. Today we only have one body, which is a big problem because we only have female parts”, says Anatomy teacher Any Kelly Lima. At the State University of Bahia (Uneb), there are four corpses for around 120 students. In addition to human parts that have already been dissected.

For Alisson Braga, a 5th semester Medicine student at Ufba, the lack of bodies affects the quality of teaching. “It limits the time and depth of the study, in addition to generating an overload on available bodies. It is necessary to encourage and raise awareness among the population about the importance of donating to education and science,” he says.

At private colleges in Salvador, such as Unifacs, on the other hand, students do not have access to real bodies. “The current methodology opts for the use of anatomy software, including 3D technology, in addition to other technological resources, such as hyper-realistic dolls”, he points out.

To overcome the lack of corpses, students and professors at the Federal University of Bahia are betting on alternative conservation techniques, such as plastination. “We use alternative methods that allow corpses to last longer, such as replacing the water in the human body with silicone”, explains professor Telma Masuko.

The Federal University of Vale do São Francisco (Univasf), State University of Southern Bahia (Uesb), State University of Santa Cruz (Uesc), State University of Feira de Santana (Uefs) and the Bahian School of Medicine and Public Health ( EBMSP) were questioned, but did not inform the number of corpses available for study.

What: Body Donation Program – Transcending Beyond Life Program at the Federal University of Bahia (Ufba)
Telephone: 71 3283-8888 or 71 3283-8923
Email: [email protected]

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: University Bahia corpse health students study



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