Editorial: Let’s Talk About It, Stop Baby Abandonment

In less than a month two babies have been found abandoned in Suva. The first was found dead in Nabua more than two weeks ago. The second was found at
02 Aug 2017 11:00
Editorial: Let’s Talk About It, Stop Baby Abandonment

In less than a month two babies have been found abandoned in Suva.

The first was found dead in Nabua more than two weeks ago. The second was found at Suva Point last weekend but was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

These two incidents highlight a serious social problem. They are not only a violation of the law of the land and the law of God, they strike at the very soul of humanity.

These are pure and innocent human beings brought into this world for a purpose but their lives are snuffed out by psychologically distressed women lost in a maze of problems and pressures with no way out.

Every decent Fijian will feel for the babies and their mothers. We can talk about what could have happened and what could have been done to avert the two tragedies. The fact is that the incidence of abandoned babies is increasingly becoming a serious problem. Historically, babies including those born out of wedlock, are either adopted out or raised by the families of the mothers. The killing of babies  through their abandonment, in the outside environment exposed to harsh weather conditions, was rare.

That seems to have changed. The body of the baby found at Suva Point was discovered by a woman last weekend while the body of another baby found around three weeks ago was found dead at Luke Street in Nabua.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa has reiterated that there is no justification for the murder of a helpless child.

A 32-year-old woman was walking along the Suva Point foreshore at around 6.30am on a Saturday morning searching for herbal medicine when she came across a bag with clothes lying on the beach.

The woman picked up the plastic and found a newly formed baby boy. The body was taken to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and was confirmed dead on arrival. Earlier on, the body of a lifeless baby was found in a creek in Nabua and Police are still searching for the mother.

Every Fijian must understand that we do have support systems and counsellors in place to help those who are lost and confused about the steps they need to take when going through thoughts of suicide or taking the life of another.

Minister Vuniwaqa says there are support systems in place for all women and they cannot say they did not have a choice but to kill the baby.

“That cannot be the choice. There are children’s homes that people can bring their baby into. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour from our women”.

Mrs Vuniwaqa says parental obligations have weakened a lot which is why Government is creating public awareness about safe sex practices, parental skills and other related programmes.

“A mother cannot come up and say ‘I had no choice’, because there is always a choice,” Ms Vuniwaqa says.

According to Wikipedia the root cause of child abandonment is poverty. Those in cultures with poor social welfare systems who are not financially capable of taking care of a child are more likely to abandon them. Another common reason is teenage pregnancies. Pregnant teenagers experience problems during and after childbirth due to social and psychological distress.

Sex education should be discussed at home, community meetings and religious gatherings. We also need to talk about the availability of help to women in distress. Some cultures and religions advocate strong moral standards like chastity and no sex before marriage. What happens when members break the rule?

If they are not loved, they could be driven to the brink. These are issues that we need to openly talk about so that there is understanding.

When a woman makes a mistake, it’s important that she knows she will not be rejected by her family, community and church. This support network is vital in stopping the incidence of baby abandonment.

Losirene Lacanivalu


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