By Kaya 959 Reporter
Around 145 newborn babies were abandoned in Gauteng’s state-owned hospitals last year.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed the information in a written reply to questions put forward by the DA.
Mokgethi’s answer revealed that 14 babies were left at Leratong Hospital, while 13 were left at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital. Twelve babies were left Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital; 10 at Tembisa Hospital and five at Tambo Memorial.
Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus had 51 abandoned babies in 2020.
Mokgethi says some women abandoned their babies when they realised the baby had a disability. Some of the babies were unplanned or the woman suffered a lack of support from the father of the baby.
She says socio-economic issues were another factor, as were relationship issues, substance abuse and mental illness.
Some mothers were teenagers while others were undocumented and foreign nationals.
Assistance for new moms
Mokgethi says hospital social workers assist nurses to identify new mothers at risk for abandonment and they try to get accurate contact numbers for the mothers.
She adds that they can also provide a donation of a basic pack of clothes and toiletries for the newborn and a dignity pack and basic items for the mother.
“It is immensely distressing that there are so many abandoned babies due to deep-rooted problems in our society. There are also babies who are abandoned outside hospitals who do not survive,” says DA spokesperson for health, Jack Bloom.
He says there are worthy NGOs who do good work in this area.
“The support options for new mothers at risk should be strengthened and communicated widely so that no mother ever feels forced to leave her child for social reasons,” Bloom said.