HYDERABAD: There is a spurt in newborns being abandoned by parents in the city. In the last one-and-half-year, 82 abandoned infants were shifted to state-run homes and were being taken care by staff at these facilities.
According to women and child welfare department officials, every month, on an average, they get five abandoned babies in their ‘Ooyala’ or cradle scheme at Niloufer Hospital and Shishu Vihar. Incidentally, 80% abandoned babies were girls.
“Parents from nearby districts also leave their children in these cradles made available by the department. The government hospitals, whenever they get cases of abandonment, contact Shishu Vihar and women and child welfare department,” a source from WCWD said.
The officer said whenever they get alerts about abandoned newborn babies from local police or child helpline, the baby is first shifted to Niloufer Hospital for health check and later shifted to Shishu Vihar.
With the recent death of a newborn child who was found abandoned at Erkula Basthi in Nacharam, city-based child rights activists say people were not aware of the ‘Ooyala’ scheme and tend to abandon children at garbage bins or temples, leading to deaths of the children.
“People are not aware about the scheme and facilities available in the city. Parents tend to abandon the newborns in garbage bins, temples or nalas. WCWD should bring awareness among people, especially the poor families about the scheme, so that the child’s life is not in danger,” NGO Balala Hakkula Sangham’s Achyuta Rao said.
On the other hand, Telangana Child Rights Protection Forum members said the cradle should be the last resort and government hospitals should provide counselling to pregnant women, both pre and post- delivery.
“Government maternity hospital staff should involve more with pregnant women. The pregnant women along with their families should be given counselling about not abandoning the girl child. Currently, most abandoned newborns are girls and the cradle system will only increase such incidents. The Ooyala scheme should be the last resort for families who are financially unable to take care of the child irrespective of the gender,” Varsha Bhargavi, advisor, Telangana Child Rights Protection Forum, said.