After a thorough research in a new study, it has been revealed that at least 20 out of 100,000 South African newborn babies are killed after birth.
According to the findings of the study, caused mostly by abandonment, most South African newborn babies either meet their untimely death within the first 24 hours after birth or in less than a week.
Statistics reveal that South Africans give birth to more than one million babies every year.
The sample for the study included both urban and rural settings using records from 2009 in mortuaries across the country. This research was a continuation of a larger study carried out on mortality.
For more information, researchers also contacted police officials who are carrying out investigations on some of the cases.
From the findings made, it was discovered that apart from abandonment, other causes of death exist ranging from blunt trauma and outright strangulation. Oddly, mothers of these newborn babies were found to be the perpetrators in two-thirds of the death
The lead personality in the study Naeemah Abrahams, of the gender and health research unit at the SA Medical Research Council, lamented that her research showed that health and social services had failed to protect babies and help vulnerable mothers by enlightening them on better ways to address their issue without having to harm their own children.
“I think that there is so much more than just blaming the mother for this. Many don’t know that they can give the baby up. We need to get this message across, as children don’t need to die,” she said.
She emphasized on the need to create initiatives like baby boxes, where mothers can drop their unwanted infants for officials to pick up.
Joan van Niekerk who is a consultant on child protection agreed to give more support to vulnerable mothers saying the high levels of infanticide has become a cause for concern. The state can reach out to such mothers right from the state maternity wards.
“We need to ask why so many young women are abandoning their babies, and what supports are in place.”
These measures will go a long way in saving the lives of a lot of newborn South African babies.