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Baby dumping crisis
After yet another dead baby was found yesterday, a clinical psychologist said something needs to be done urgently about abortion and baby dumping in Namibia.
“It’s a crisis and we need a solution. We need to have a site at hospitals where mothers can drop their babies without questions being asked. We need to come up with creative solutions,” Clinical Psychologist Shaun Whittaker urged yesterday.
“Abortion is an issue that needs to be debated. Does abortion need to be illegal if it’s increasing?” he asked. “We need to have a debate on reproductive rights of women.”
Since last week the bodies of four babies were discovered at various places around Windhoek. The latest gruesome discovery was made yesterday afternoon by a young man at the Kupferberg dumpsite outside Windhoek. The dead baby girl was covered with a black top with white dots, wrapped around with a black jacket and placed in a plastic bag surrounded by flies.
According to Sergeant Charl Renton from the State Mortuary it was a full birth. The umbilical cord was cut and the baby was wrapped with a top. He said this makes it a murder case.
Since last week Monday, the bodies of three baby boys where also discovered. Two were found at the Otjomuise Water Care Works while the other was discovered at Wanaheda Pump Station.
According to people that sort out garbage at the dumpsite, the baby found yesterday came along with the refuse from Springbok and Acacia Street in Suiderhof, near the Military base.
Sebron Bock,15, and his friend Paul Goseb, 28, discovered the baby while going through the trash looking for aluminium for re-sale.
“I will not eat today. That dead baby is still on my mind,” said the soft-spoken Bock, who resides at the dumpsite.
“He (Bock) nearly collapsed when he saw the dead baby. It’s both our first time, seeing a dead baby ... and it is not good,” related Goseb.
Rent-a-Drum employee Pineas Nambadi who sorts rubbish at the dumpsite said they are “disgusted to group the trash” after the discovery of the baby. He added that he is very disappointed in woman throwing away their babies.
“In South Africa abortion is legal but you still found baby dumping,” Whittaker said. He added that a woman has a right to choose whether to have an abortion, even if it is legal in certain cases.
However, Whittaker said many women who commit abortion feel guilty later on. “Abortion has psychological consequences. I am also not convinced that it is because of infidelity that women terminate their pregnancies.” He said these are unwanted pregnancies and it is mostly young woman who are not financially stable enough to look after a baby.
Principal Medical Officer of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Katutura State Hospital Dr Nelago Tukondjeni Amagulu said common risks when terminating a pregnancy without receiving medical treatment afterwards is severe bleeding, infection - that may cause a woman to lose her womb -, perforation of the uterus and bowels and even death.
Amagulu said in a normal set up it is vital for a woman be treated after giving birth to ensure that bleeding and infection does not occur and to ensure that the uterus is well contracted.
Asked if a woman can visit the hospital after terminating a pregnancy she replied: “Absolutely, you come to the hospital for the abovementioned complication can be avoided. Our job as health professionals is to save lives. That is what we will do; our job description is to medically and psychologically treat patients, not to report to anyone. Patient confidentiality is a huge aspect of our job and profession.”